Biomodifying the ‘Natural’: from adaptive regulation to adaptive societal governance

Mourby, Miranda, Morrison, Michael, Li, Phoebe, Faulkner, Alex, Bicudo, Edison, Bell, Jessica and Kaye, Jane (2022) Biomodifying the ‘Natural’: from adaptive regulation to adaptive societal governance. Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 9 (1). ISSN 2053-9711

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Biomodifying technologies—such as gene editing, induced pluripotent stem cells and bioprinting— are being developed for a wide range of applications, from pest control to lab-grown meat. In medicine, regulators have responded to the challenge of evaluating modified ‘natural’ material as a therapeutic ‘product’ by introducing more flexible assessment schemes. Attempts have also been made to engage stakeholders across the globe on the acceptable parameters for these technologies, particularly in the case of gene editing.

Regulatory flexibility and stakeholder engagement are important, but a broader perspective is also needed to respond to the potential disruption of biomodification. Our case-study technologies problematize basic ideas — such as ‘nature,’ ‘product’ and ‘donation’— that underpin the legal categories used to regulate biotechnology. Where such foundational concepts are rendered uncertain, a socially responsive and sustainable solution would involve exploring evolutions in these concepts across different societies. We suggest that the global observatory model is a good starting point for this ‘Adaptive Societal Governance’ approach, in which a self-organising network of scholars and interested parties could carry out the multi-modal (meta)analyses needed to understand societal constructions of ideas inherent to our understanding of ‘life.’

Item Type: Article
Keywords: adaptive governance, bioprinting, biotechnologies, gene editing, ipsc, regulation
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2022 08:32
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2022 14:00

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Biomodifying technologies and experimental space: organisational and regulatory implications for the translation and valuation of health researchG2291ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/P002943/1
Biomodifying technologies: Governing converging research in the life sciencesG2501LEVERHULME TRUSTRPG-2017-330