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IDT presents at Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Feb 16, 2011

Representing the International Gene Synthesis Consortium and its ongoing work to 
prevent the misuse of synthetic genes

CORALVILLE, IA – 15 September 2010. Appearing on behalf of the International Gene Synthesis Consortium (IGSC) member companies, Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT), a world leader in custom nucleic acid synthesis, yesterday spoke at the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, in Philadelphia, PA. The IGSC represents approximately 80% of the worldwide gene synthesis capacity and has been working with the US and other governments to establish standards and practices to prevent the misuse of synthetic genes. Having taken a prominent role in the recent public policy discussion of the biosafety and biosecurity concerns relating to gene synthesis technology, IDT has helped to lead the development of the IGSC’s Harmonized Screening Protocol. The Commission invited IDT to its second public meeting to describe those efforts.

IDT’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel for International Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Damon Terrill, spoke about the screening standards and practices applied by all IGSC member companies, and their close collaboration with federal authorities. He discussed how the IGSC’s sequence and customer screening protocol achieves the objectives of the US Government’s draft Screening Framework Guidance for Synthetic Double-stranded DNA Providers1, and suggested supplementary measures to minimize the risks associated with the commercial availability of synthetic genes.

Also representing the IGSC, Dr. Ralph Wagner, CEO and CSO of Geneart, went on to talk about the broad range of synthetic biology applications, emphasizing the need to balance the risks presented by synthetic biology technology against its potentially revolutionary benefits. IDT offers a complete, custom gene synthesis service, using the highest fidelity next generation synthesis technology. By providing codon optimization and sequence verification, 2 µg yields of purified, double-stranded DNA are guaranteed from every order. Users can choose between a broad range of standard or custom cloning vectors, and all sequence information remains secure and confidential. In accordance with the IGSC’s Harmonized Screening Protocol, IDT screens the sequences of all ordered genes to identify regulated and other potentially dangerous pathogen sequences. In addition, IDT verifies that all customers are legitimate scientists engaged in beneficial research.

For more information about the IGSC and the Harmonized Screening Protocol, please visit

1. 74 FR 227, 62319 (Nov. 27, 2009):


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