We've posted quite a bit about DIY biohackers over the years, but the trend continues as the tools become cheaper and the information easier to find. A few days ago, the Associated Press took a quick look at amateur gene jockeys. From the AP:
In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith L. Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly."Amateurs are trying genetic engineering at home"
"People can really work on projects for the good of humanity while learning about something they want to learn about in the process," she said...
In Cambridge, Mass., a group called DIYbio is setting up a community lab where the public could use chemicals and lab equipment, including a used freezer, scored for free off Craigslist, that drops to 80 degrees below zero, the temperature needed to keep many kinds of bacteria alive.
Co-founder Mackenzie Cowell, a 24-year-old who majored in biology in college, said amateurs will probably pursue serious work such as new vaccines and super-efficient biofuels, but they might also try, for example, to use squid genes to create tattoos that glow.