Amateur scientists build Lego-style synthetic BioBricks in public lab

London BioHackspace featured in Wired UK

While some may believe that science is better left to scientists, hundreds of amateur biologists around the world have been setting-up makeshift biology labs in their homes, garages and community centres. Some of these “biohackers” or “DIY biologists” have political motivations to open up science for all, a few attempt to address an absence of research in rare genetic diseases, some are curious with a desire to learn, while others are taking part just for the sheer fun of it all.

Although “hacking” can carry negative connotations, it is clear that they are not the pipette-wielding revolutionaries they may sound like, and “hacking” is adopted more in the sense of playfully finding innovative and resourceful ways to build and modify. Groups have already developed novel lab equipment hacks including converting webcams into microscopes, building centrifuges out of drills and incubators out of picnic coolers. But despite such seemingly innocent hobbyist activities, biology as a science is also becoming more “hackable”, thanks to the field of synthetic biology. This raises a number of ethical and safety issues, especially if the public were able to access the technology… Continue reading on Wired.co.uk

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