The Common Mechanism
DNA synthesis is a service that is widely used in bioscience research and in laboratories around the world. It supports the growing bioeconomy and is critically important for a wide range of biotechnology advances. However, safeguards for DNA synthesis technology—to ensure that providers do not inadvertently sell the building blocks of dangerous pathogens to malicious actors—have not kept pace with growing global demand for this service and declining costs.

Screening DNA synthesis orders is not legally required by any national government. DNA providers who belong to the International Gene Synthesis Consortium voluntarily screen DNA synthesis orders and customers, but these companies only represent an estimated 80% of global DNA synthesis market share. That means approximately one in five orders likely goes unscreened. Moreover, as the cost of DNA synthesis continues to decline over time, the fixed costs of screening orders is placing a growing financial burden on commercial providers and straining the viability of the voluntary screening model. Providing efficient, affordable tools for screening DNA orders is critically important for safeguarding DNA synthesis technology, and it could help universalize screening practices globally.

The international Common Mechanism will help DNA providers more effectively screen orders and customers to prevent DNA synthesis technology from being exploited. By providing this software, we seek to ensure that every DNA provider has access to DNA synthesis screening tools. This makes it easier for them to screen DNA sequences and customers efficiently and at lower cost, resulting in improved global biosecurity and biosafety. The Common Mechanism was developed and is supported by an international Technical Consortium of experts from across industry, academia, government, and civil society.

Contact us to learn more about accessing and using this software package.
Countries require DNA providers to screen orders
1 in 5
Of global DNA synthesis orders are unscreened
2-5 years
For commercial expansion of benchtop DNA synthesis devices