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Doubts over evidence for synthetic biology plan

A government-endorsed roadmap for synthetic biology that has triggered more than £300 million of public investment since 2012 lacked evidence that the emerging discipline would generate the promised economic growth, according to two researchers involved in its development.

Synthetic biology aims to engineer new biological systems as a route to innovative pharmaceuticals, fuels and other products.

In 2012, a panel of researchers and business representatives produced a roadmap for the science minister at the time, David Willetts, setting out how synthetic biology could become a driving force for the UK economy. Their report persuaded the government to commit funding, including £126m for a Synthetic Biology for Growth Programme.

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