Strategic Guidelines Toward the Establishment of Public Policies for Synthetic Biology in Developing Countries

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Daniel Dominguez-Gomez, Gloria Alvarez-Lopez, Cesar Villavicencio-Cordova

Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico

Synthetic biology is going to explode a new biotechnological revolution creating a completely new level of biological engineering. Along with the scientific development of synbio, new ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) are arising. Since synbiologists are aware of the relevance of this, there is a great interest in discussing how to face the challenges ahead. Despite the remarkable inter-institutional effort to address these issues, just a few scientists have considered and analyzed the importance of the ELSI debate in developing countries. Scientific (and non-scientific) community in growing economies has quite different concerns about the potential risks and applications of synbio. Specially in Mexico, there are a big concern about food sovereignty and GMO´s biosafety. The problem is that Mexican legislators and decision makers have tried to imitate public policies proposed in developed countries instead of design original frameworks, consistent to their economic reality. Mexico is experiencing a scientific awakening, there is an unprecedented interest in technological development, if Mexico (and other developing countries) wants to be competitive and take part of the global advance of synbio it is very important to open a debate towards the implementation of public policies that allow the effective growth of biotechnology in the country. Mexican scientists, stakeholders and decision makers must consider the opinion of the global leaders and learn from experiences in order to create an appropriate strategy. This work aims to determine the key aspects to take into account to establish public policies for synbio development in Mexico.