Science & Technology

Homebrewed Biotechnology


h+ interviews Meredith Patterson, co-founder of DIYbio, about the boom in do-it-yourself biology research. From the intro:

The [explanation for the subculture's growth] goes far beyond falling costs and the rise of the garage tinkerer, although these are factors. One big factor seems to be a desire to solve some of today's major problems. Discussions seem to frequently drift towards two particular topics: creating fuel-generating microbes and finding remedies for disease. Indeed, the DIYbio community owes much of its increase in size to do-gooders, concerned citizens who see DIYbio as a method of confronting problems in a novel way. And while this is heartening, many members simply want to pursue science for the love of it. They're DIY simply because they wish to conduct research into relatively unprofitable fields.

In much the same way that homebrew computer science built the world we live in today, garage biology can affect the future we make for ourselves. For example, the bioweather map could greatly augment the way we understand epidemiology and the environment on a micro scale. When we open science up to the public, we pretty much always get useful results.

Read the whole thing here.