Building an open source home DNA copy machine


Tito Jankowski and Josh Perfetto were at Maker Faire, showing off their prototype for an OpenPCR machine. A wha? PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. It is a method that can be used for replicating DNA. It can take a small amount of DNA (even a single molecule), and amplify (copy) a specific region exponentially, producing up to 230 copies of a starting molecule. The resulting material can be used to “explore your own genome, hack together DNA code, build your own biofuel, or prove that the trees in your backyard really are Truffula trees” says Tito and Josh. They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to create an OpenPCR printer design and kits so anyone can do PCR on their desktop, in their garage, hackerspace, or community lab, for $400 or less.

The above video, shot by Jeri Ellsworth at a very hectic and noisy Maker Faire, runs through their vision for this project. Nice to see that they’re already halfway to raising the desired six grand for development money.

OpenPCR – open source biotech on your desktop (Kickstarter page)
OpenPCR (project home page)


15 thoughts on “Building an open source home DNA copy machine

  1. crashfrog says:

    It can take a small amount of DNA (even a single molecule), and amplify (copy) a specific region exponentially, producing up to 230 copies of a starting molecule.

    No, up to 20 million copies of a starting molecule, I think you meant. It doubles each cycle, you see, and you typically run 20-30 cycles.

    From one to 230 isn’t very “exponential”, and it would also be next to useless. You need way more DNA than that for any kind of analysis or study.

    1. Gareth Branwyn says:

      Oops. That was supposed to be a superscript “30.” Fixed. Thanks.

  2. Alan says:

    The idea of an open source PCR machine is cute, but for $400 or less you can just go on eBay and pick up a used, fully functional laboratory grade thermal cycler. Cutting-edge research and clinical labs are constantly upgrading these devices to get the latest features, but those features are useless to most garage bio-hackers. With all that perfectly good gear flooding the surplus market, there’s no need to build a new one of these.

  3. says:

    Makee certain that time lines and funds to be produced are spelled
    out in more detail. A bank’s inspectors would want to
    take a peek at their expense since it has been built.
    Yet another good source for nutrition are eggs.

  4. says:

    In a surrounding you’ll often experience mold,
    which is a fungus. By taking such preventive measure you can cause a healthy environment for the family.
    You can just take the review for this.

  5. says:

    Toe-nail infection or onychomycosis is a fungal disease which
    will lead to disfigured and darkened toenails.
    So, convinced that the physician knows-best,
    I tried the entire span of recommended solutions.

  6. says:

    Exercising regularly according to experts demonstrated enormous importance in entire body.

    The shake should provide you sufficient energy carry out your everyday living too.
    In addition, you must remember to warm up and cool down.

  7. air max pas cher says:

    hey we inadvertently deleted our htaccess record, very cud anybody assist me to available can certainly make money cud said bak??? pls speedy Now i’m jogging Filezilla three. installment payments on your 7. one and also the approach to exhibiting. htaccess is.
    air max pas cher

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

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.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn