Biotechnology: Consensus Reports

The division produces 60-70 reports per year. These reports are unique, authoritative expert evaluations. Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review. The experts who volunteer their time participating on study committees are vetted to make sure that the committee has the range of expertise needed to address the task, that they have a balance of perspectives, and to identify and eliminate members with conflicts of interest. All reports undergo a rigorous, independent peer review to assure that the statement of task has been addressed, that conclusions are adequately supported, and that all important issues raised by the reviewers are addressed. Thus, while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy.

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Showing results 1 - 5 of 15

Emerging and Readily Available Technologies and National Security: A Framework for Addressing Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues (2014)

This report is a study on the ethical, legal, and societal issues relating to the research on, development of, and use of rapidly changing technologies with low barriers of entry that have potential military application, such as information technologies, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology. The report also considers the ethical issues associated with robotics and autonomous systems, prosthetics and human enhancement, and cyber weapons. Thes... More >>

A New Biology for the 21st Century: Ensuring the United States Leads the Coming Biology Revolution (2009)

Now more than ever, biology has the potential to contribute practical solutions to many of the major challenges confronting the United States and the world. This National Research Council report recommends that a "New Biology" approach -- one that depends on greater integration within biology, and closer collaboration with physical, computational, and earth scientists, mathematicians and engineers -- be used to find solutions to four key societa... More >>

Report in Brief

Inspired by Biology: From Molecules to Materials to Machines (2008)

Now is an exciting time at the crossroads of biology, physics, and materials science and engineering. New ways of measuring, manipulating, and computing properties of biological systems are finally uncovering the principles that govern biological systems. Three general approaches to the creation of new materials and systems are identified and described by the committee: biomimicry, bioinspiration, and bioderivation. Science opportunities ar... More >>

An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars (2007)

In the last decade, robotic missions to Mars have discovered strong evidence of a watery past and the possibility of atmospheric methane. In order to take advantage of these new breakthroughs, NASA's Science Mission Directorate requested development of an updated integrated astrobiology strategy for Mars exploration. The focus of the program continues to be the search for past or present life on Mars. Samples should be taken on Mars an... More >>

Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects (2004)

Genetic engineering is one of the newer technologies available to produce desirable traits in plants and animals used for food, but it poses no unique health risks that cannot also arise from conventional breeding and other genetic alteration methods. Any of those methods could result in unintended changes in the composition of the food. The report concludes that all altered foods should be assessed on a case-by-case basis before they are sol... More >>

Report in Brief