GenØk heads capacity building project on synthetic biology


GenØk is commissioned by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry to organize capacity building on synthetic biology for developing countries. Along with Bioforsk and local partners GenØk will organize one course in Africa and one in Asia, as well as publish a report on the same topic. The Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food also participate in the project.

Photo: Henrik5000 #000007254422 (
Photo: Henrik5000 #000007254422 (

Synthetic biology is about creating living organisms that do not exist in nature today, and designing them to perform specific tasks. In 2010 it was announced that scientists had succeeded in creating the first living synthetic cell. Synthetic biology can potentially contribute to create carbon neutral biofuels as well as new drugs and therapies in health care. However, there are uncertainties related to the long-term environmental, health and societal effects of adopting new technologies and products based on synthetic biology.

There is currently no widely accepted definition of synthetic biology, and it is unclear whether synthetic biology fall under current legislation. The purpose of the project is to raise the quality of information, so that one will be better equipped to assess opportunities and challenges related to the application of this new technology.

GenØk’s project managers: Odd-Gunnar Wikmark and Katrine Jaklin


Front page photo: Lonely #74687963