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The 1970s introduced genetic modification, the 1990s cloning and GM food, and the human genome was sequenced in 2000. Synthetic biology is heralded as the next frontier. But what is synthetic biology and how do we imagine its future directions? What are the implications of this new field for scientists, lawyers, regulators and ethicists? What social and political challenges does it pose and what role will the social sciences, the humanities and the public play in shaping the direction of this new field? The expert panel will debate these issues with the audience.