It is difficult to find out why exactly Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, the two leading organizations in this field, oppose genetic engineering. Clearly it is important to them that a large number of people oppose this technology, and that they represent the vox populi in this. But this cannot be the true reason.
Whereas the two companies discussed in this series so far use fermentation technology to imitate silk, the American company Kraig Biocraft Laboratories uses the old workhorse, the silkworm. They introduced spider genes into the silkworm in order to arrive at products much like spider silk, stronger than common silk. They claim their genetically engineered spider
Spider silk combines properties that are very difficult to achieve for man-made materials. It is claimed to be 340 times stronger than steel; we are also told that a net woven from spider silk threads 1 cm thick would be able to stop a Boeing 747 in full flight. And yet, spider silk is just
For a long time, silk has figured as a proverbial example of nature’s skills: strong and breathable, and soft to the skin as no man-made material could achieve. But we are about to cross this border: artificial silk has been synthesized, or at least materials very close to it; it may come to the market
In an interview about digitization of education, Onderwijs moet de voordelen van ICT gebruiken, published in the Dutch newspaper NRC, May 8th, 2017, the president of the Dutch Education Council, also a professor educational economy, was asked whether programming and coding are part of digital skills. Her answer: ‘No. After one year you can discard
There’s always a time lag between the development of a new technology and a dawning awareness of its social impact. Then follows a debate among scientists, possibly followed by a public debate. This process starts by people asking difficult questions, as we are about to do on the Duchenne muscular dystrophy CRISPR cure. This technology,
A number of American companies offer Do-It-Yourself genetic engineering kits on the internet, in order to practice Synthetic Biology and Biological Design at home. With these biokits one can alter the genetics of living organisms such as E. Coli-bacteria or yeast. Examples can be found at DIY and Education. Amino Labs and Biorealize, together called
In her lecture at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology (EFIB), last October in Glasgow, Professor Dame Anne Glover, Vice-Principal External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, lectured about effectively communicating about science, engineering and technology. And a couple of weeks later at the ‘Agro meets Chemicals’ conference in Utrecht professor Louise Fresco, Wageningen University, stressed the