Consensus Reports

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.

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Showing results 1 - 5 of 43

Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology (2018)

The age of synthetic biology has brought with it opportunities to transform approaches to treating disease, manufacturing chemicals, producing fuels, remediating contaminants, and numerous other applications with benefits to humankind. Some synthetic biology capabilities, however, have dual use potential -- that is, they are capabilities that can be used for beneficial purposes but could be misdirected to cause harm to humans, animals, plants... More >>

Report in Brief

Reducing the Threat of Improvised Explosive Device Attacks by Restricting Access to Explosive Precursor Chemicals (2017)

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are a type of unconventional explosive weapon that can be deployed in a variety of ways, and can cause loss of life, injury, and property damage in both military and civilian environments. Terrorists, violent extremists, and criminals often choose IEDs because the ingredients, components, and instructions required to make IEDs are highly accessible. In many cases, precursor chemicals enable this criminal use o... More >>

Report in Brief

A Proposed Framework for Identifying Potential Biodefense Vulnerabilities Posed by Synthetic Biology: Interim Report (2017)

Synthetic biology and related biotechnologies hold great promise for addressing challenges in human health, agriculture, and other realms. At the same time, synthetic biology raises concerns about possible malicious uses that might threaten human health or national security. This interim report is the first phase of a study by the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine to assess potential vulnerabilities. The report proposes ... More >>

Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology (2017)

As the U.S. biotechnology economy grows rapidly, the scale, scope, and complexity of products is increasing. More types of organisms will likely be engineered, and the kinds of traits introduced with biotechnology will also increase. Future biotechnology products will range from familiar applications, such as modifying agricultural crops, to products that are entirely new –plants that can serve as sentinels of environmental contamination, fo... More >>

Communicating Chemistry: A Framework for Sharing Science: A Practical Evidence-Based Guide (2016)

A growing body of evidence indicates that, increasingly, the public is engaging with science in a wide range of informal environments, which can be any setting outside of school such as community-based programs, festivals, libraries, or home. Yet undergraduate and graduate schools often don’t prepare scientists for public communication. This practical guide is intended for any chemist -- that is, any professional who works in chemistry-relate... More >>