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 GE3LS stands for genomics and its related ethical, economic, environmental, legal and social aspects. GE3LS research complement the role of natural scientists by bringing to the table a fuller diversity of perspectives in helping to shape and address critical questions at the interface of science and society. GE3LS research is carried out by academic researchers from an ever-expanding range of perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds including, but not limited to: social science, law, commerce, communications and journalism studies, bioethics, political science and public policy


The PhytoMetaSyn project has three GE3LS researchers examining various issues:


Dr. Edna Einsiedel—University of Calgary, Department of Communication and Culture

Edna Einsiedel’s research component involves assessing public and stakeholder views about synthetic biology and the development of a life-cycle public engagement model. A series of Science Cafés on synthetic biology are being conducted across Canada to gauge public perceptions towards this new and emerging technology. Check out the results from our past Science Cafés here.

Dr. Tania Bubela—University of Alberta, Department of Public Health Sciences

Trained as both a population geneticist and an intellectual property lawyer, Tania Bubela is examining both intellectual property and commercialization issues related to synthetic biology and the PhytoMetaSyn project. Her team will communicate with stakeholders in phytomedicine and synthetic biology to address the fair and equitable development of this field and commercialization of products and processes. Issues surrounding access to genetic resources and benefit sharing between individuals/countries sourcing the material and researchers utilizing the material will also be examined.

Dr. Greg Hagen—University of Calgary, Faculty of Law

Greg Hagen is examining both the regulatory and ethical issues surrounding synthetic biology research. The question Hagen is interested in answering is: Does synthetic biology and its products require new laws or ethical rules?  In short, are synthetic biology and its products different than previous technologies and products in an ethically, legally and socially relevant way? Other issues Hagen’s team are examining include the regulation of food and drugs produced from biosynthetic pathways, environmental issues, biosafety, biosecurity, bioprospecting, access to medicine, governance, risk management and philosophical implications.


-Contributed by Erin Navid