MIT’s Technology Review has an interview with Juan Enriquez, the Wellesley, MA based CEO of Biotechonomy. His company is funding Craig Venter’s new project, Synthetic Genomics:
Genetic engineering mostly has been about taking a few genes, shooting them at random at cells, and seeing if anything sticks. What we’re doing is very different–synthesizing entirely new DNA strands with the aim of controlling a particular life function. We then insert those into cells and have them execute that function…
Specifically, we’re looking at how to optimize microorganisms that generate ethanol and hydrogen… To the extent that you can program how individual cells function, you can change global industries on a very large scale.
We’re working to look at the ethical issues. You don’t want to put something on the market and then have people start asking all these questions. One way of looking at this is it’s the next stage in the Green Revolution. Or alternatively it’s the next stage of the Industrial Revolution. I think it’s both.