Discover Mag hat einen sehr langen, superinteressanten Artikel über die Geschichte der Bio-Hacker, die in ihren Kellern und Garagen Gene splicen und komische Sachen mit Zellen und Lebensformen machen und dann irgendwann in ein paar Jahren in ihrem Straßenladen gut gekühlte, selbstgezüchtete Augen an Blade Runner Rick Deckard verkaufen wollen.
Robert Sabin has been an independent researcher for more than 30 years, focusing on nutrition and disease; he works in the library, in his bedroom, or out by the pool of his Long Island house. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT grad Kay Aull reprogrammed the genome of E. coli bacteria, a type of life-based engineering known as synthetic biology. That work gained Aull a lot of attention from fellow DIY-ers, including movement leader Mackenzie Cowell, who called her feat “a cool hack.”
DIYbio, as its practitioners call it, has some of the trappings of computer hacker culture, including a rapidly growing global community. Facilities erected specifically for biology hobbyists have sprung up around the United States. And an online network, DIYbio.org—started by two Cambridge, Massachusetts, enthusiasts, including Cowell—facilitates communication among citizen scientists worldwide. Cathal Garvey, a garage biotech enthusiast in Cork, Ireland, and an expert on the DIYbio movement, predicts that the new breed of homegrown experimenters will relaunch the kind of creative, idiosyncratic innovation that is often missing from today’s big science. DIYbio is not a counterculture, he claims. “The separation of science from society is a fad that is coming to an end.”