In 2005, The Woodrow Wilson Center recognized the nascent field of synthetic biology as an emerging issue with widespread implications. From that recognition came The Synthetic Biology Project, designed to study the field in detail and get ahead of potential policy issues. Since then, the Wilson Center has produced numerous reports on various aspects of synthetic biology, including a long running series about public perceptions of the field. These studies pointed to confusion about synthetic biology, concerns about its applications, and a frequent disconnect between the scientific community and the public. Thus, David Rejeski, Director of the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP), and Jessica Mazerik, then a STIP intern who is currently a Health Communications Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, created “The Guide for Communicating Synthetic Biology.”
I interviewed Rejeski about the Guide, which was published on September 29 of this year. That interview will be posted soon, but in the meantime, we here at the PLOS Synthetic Biology Community feel that the guide is an important piece of reading for anyone involved in the field. I would encourage you to follow the link, read the Guide, consider ways to apply the ideas in it to your work, and discuss it in the comments below. Additionally, The Wilson Center has encouraged distribution of the Guide, so please pass it along.