The objective of Synthetic biology to turn biotechnology into an engineering discipline. It especially concerns creating new, artificial life forms, which could be constructed like machines for particular tasks.
From an ethical standpoint the question arises, among other things, of which risks are associated with synthetic biology, and whether manufacturing synthetic life is permissible.
Synthetic biology - Ethical considerations, Report of the ECNH, May 2010.
Expert reports commissioned by the ECNH which are of interest to a wider audience are published (in the original language) in a series entitled "Beiträge zur Ethik und Biotechnologie" [contributions to ethics and biotechnology]. These reports served as working papers for the ECNH with regard to synthetic biology:
- Bernard Baertschi, La vie artificielle - Le statut moral des êtres vivants artificiels, 2009. (volume 6, in French)
- Joachim Boldt, Oliver Müller, Giovanni Maio, Synthetische Biologie - Eine ethisch-philosophische Analyse, 2009. (In German, Volume 5)
- Andreas Brenner, Leben - Eine philosophische Untersuchung, 2007. (In Germand, Volume 3)