Biohacking in the Chronicle

Tito Jankowski, who works on DNA research tools in his garage, started the San Francisco chapter of DIYbio.

Over the weekend, the SF Chronicle ran a piece on biohacking, with some of the usual suspects (DIYbio, Drew Endy, Tito Jankowski) and raising some of the thornier issues involved in high-tech kitchen-table science.

In a kitchen in Saratoga, an electrical engineer is working with pure strains of E. coli purchased over the Internet in hopes of creating a handheld diagnostic tool to detect dangerous bacteria.

Out of a garage in Sacramento, a bioengineer is designing low-cost equipment to allow people to see and construct DNA.

From a studio in San Francisco, an artist is building houses from a medicinal fungus.

Across the Bay Area, and in other high-tech hotbeds, a revolution is under way. Citizen scientists – or biohackers, as they’re being called – are taking biology out of academia and closed-door laboratories and bringing it into garages and kitchens, studios and warehouses.

Above image by Adam Lau for the Chronicle.

Do-it-yourself biology grows with technology

Check out our own citizen science efforts in the Make: Science Room


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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