“The idea of people working in their closets or garages, they’re metaphors that have been drawn from computer science. We hear stories about Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak working on Apple computers out of a garage and think that’s what these guys are doing,” Daniel Grushkin, lead author of the paper, said. “People think they’re the boogeyman, think they’re working on creating life or synthesizing something in their home labs, and they’re not.”
But in a first-ever survey of the DIYbio community, the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars finds this work is far more innocuous than news reports and others might suggest.
There’s little to fear from the existing Do-It-Yourself Biology (DIYbio) movement, concludes a report released today by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. ”There’s been a lot of debate in the biosecurity community about what DIYers may or may not be doing, from making narcotics to pandemics to viruses that kill heads of state (I’m not joking),” writes Wilson fellow and report co-author Daniel Grushkin in an e-mail toScienceInsider. He hopes the report will “dispel a lot of these myths, so that the discussion can move beyond suspicion and risks, and start focusing on opportunities.”
Daniel Grushkin is a science writer that co-founded the first community bio lab Genspace, and now he is writing a history of synthetic biology.
Reporter Jessica Gould visits Genspace. At the community biolab in Downtown Brooklyn, citizen scientists are coming together to explore the basics of biology — and maybe discover something that will transform our lives.
The students and tinkerers at the lab work with genes and other materials on what co-founder Daniel Grushkin calls their “pet biotechnology projects.” There’s a big granite table for experiments and an industrial fridge full of bacteria.
For the Geo Quiz, we’re looking for a long lost kingdom. No, it’s not El Dorado, the mythical city of gold that was supposedly somewhere in the Western Hemisphere. The Lost Kingdom we want you to name is a real place in the Himalayan mountains.