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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


4 thoughts on “Biohacking in the Chronicle

  1. Kevin says:

    It’s the guy that used to sell encyclopedias on TV!

  2. Gerry says:

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

    Eek… that is the scariest sentence I have read in a long time.

    Read “The White Plague” by Frank Herbert (yes, the Dune author) sometime about a biochemist who in his basement using cheap materials constructs a virus to get back at terrorist who kill his family; the plague wipes out 99% of mankind….

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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. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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