Biohacking in the Chronicle

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

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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