A Symposium on Marine Biotechnology

On October 13 and 14, the first SynBio Day conference on Synthetic Marine Biology took place in the Principality of Monaco. This symposium, organized by eureKARE in collaboration with the Scientific Center of Monaco, aimed to bring together researchers in marine and atmospheric bacteria, directors of biotech start-ups, and experts in synthetic biology to discuss about the emergence of applying innovative [synthetic biology] projects to diverse sectors, such as health, energy, biomaterials, agriculture or environment. Synthetic biology is able to combine two opposing approaches – the blue economy and the ocean protection – by allowing, on the one hand, economic development and equity of populations in accordance with the Nagoya agreements, while ensuring the protection of biodiversity. It was how about thirty specialists from all over the world presented their latest results during the symposium.

The ocean holds vast potential, which is still largely unrecognized. Indeed, it remained “Terra Incognita” for a long time due to the difficulty of accessing it. Recent developments and discoveries from the Tara Ocean and Tara Pacific missions shed light on the existence of hundreds of thousands of new protists and bacteria species. We should not forget that microbes make up 98% of the ocean’s biomass, but advances in this immense biodiversity knowledge are required before allowing its exploitation. 

“There are no different kinds of sciences: there is science and the applications of science”, Louis Pasteur in 1817 .

Although scientific aspects have been subject of extensive debates, the ethical and legal aspects have not been forgotten to make synthetic marine biology a path for the future and, possibly, to turn the Principality of Monaco a prominent place in this field.

“I am especially pleased that the Principality of Monaco is able to welcome your work, support it and contribute to its success. I also welcome the dialogue that has been established between eureKARE and the Scientific Center of Monaco, in particular the opportunity to host one of your studios on its premises, like those you have already set up in various scientific centers across Europe”, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco in his introductory speech at SynBio Day 2022.

Original article in French, published in the Scientific Center of Monaco website: Un colloque sur les Biotechnologies Marines, October 25th 2022

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