Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
1. India needs to formally come up with its national strategy on synthetic biology — both policy and regulatory. Discuss. (250 words)
Why this question:
India established the Department of Biotechnology during the late 1980s to harness the emerging science to the benefit of the country. However, there has been a long-standing lack of clarity and consensus among scientists, policymakers, industry, farmers and civil society organisations on how India needs to deal with synthetic biological methods like the genetic modification technology in areas like agriculture.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain the concept of Synthetic biology. Thereafter, we need to highlight the pros and cons of technology, its possible applications. Further we need to analyse India’s need to come up with a policy to regulate the affairs in synthetic biology. And finally give a fair and balanced view regarding the kind of policy needed.
Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.
Structure of the answer
Explain the term Synthetic biology and need to come up with a policy on the same in India.
- Synthetic biology is a field of science that involves redesigning organisms for useful purposes by engineering them to have new abilities. This technology, of developing new life forms, is being pursued by industry despite there being no regulatory framework in place
Explain the concept in detail.
Discuss the various applications of the technology.
- genetic modification technology in areas like agriculture
- Cloning technologies
- In less than nine years, synthetic biology has caught the imagination of scientists and the industry’s market of $11 billion in 2016 is expected to grow to $100 billion by 2025.
Discuss the pros and cons of Synthetic biology.
Finally, talk about need for India to come up with a policy on synthetic biology.
- The lack of policy is a cause of serious concern after decades of work in this area compromising research, investments and decision-making.
- In the absence of India undertaking a proactive approach to this technology, there is ample chance that we will end up having the same, if not more, contentious debates about synthetic biology organisms and products as those on genetically modified organisms.
Give your opinion on what kind of policy should India come up with respect to synthetic biology.