Wired reporter Thomas Goetz interviews Craig Venter on his synthetic biology projects and the public perception of science “Craig Venter wants to solve the world’s energy crisis”.
Goetz: Just to touch on the ethics of this, why do you think it strikes a nerve in people that youre doing this with life, with organisms, compared to the tinkering and manipulation thats being done with, say, silicon? What is it about biology that is different?
Venter: I think because were a part of biology and we relate to that. But the amount of fear this arouses depends on our education, it depends on peoples religion. You see it in literature, the idea that if you alter life forms its going to lead to no good end. That goes back to Mary Shelleys Frankenstein, and you see it in moviesits part of our culture. Perhaps its an innate fear because were a part of biology, so were afraid of making things better or making them worse. But I think its the most powerful technology we have at our disposal to change the outcome of humanity.