DIY biology

Do citizen science efforts ever go beyond "feel good" contributions? Do the data get published in peer-reviewed journals? In an earlier post, I started a list of citizen science projects that allow students to make a contribution. Many commentors are graciously adding to that list and I thank you all! I'm glad to learn there are so many interesting projects and ways for people to get involved. Science is so empowering! My question today concerns things like outcomes and deliverables. We' ... Read more
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet" - Juliet, from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare I realized from the comments on my previous post and from Mike's post that more explanations were in order. It seems we have two topics - why do we need a new name at all? and why the current names (biologist, computational biologist, bioinformatician, etc ... Read more
If you're in Seattle, Dr. Bruce Alberts will be talking tomorrow night (Jan 5th) at the Seattle Aquarium on science education and the role that scientists play. There are also some really interesting talks at a day-long workshop, Wednesday (Jan 6th) at the UW South Campus Center. The details and registration info are below: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Tuesday: COSEE Ocean Learning Communities & Washington SeaGrant Present Redefining Science Education and the Roles that Scientists Play in Society Dr. ... Read more
That's how new life forms are created every day in the wild, folks. Human researchers of course have added a few twists on the theme. If we can't induce bacteria or animal cells to collect new bits of DNA on their own, we turn to electroshock therapy. With plants.... aw heck, we just shoot them. And where did this crazy rant come from you ask? Last Saturday morning, at the crack of 9 am I got to be interviewed on a radio program with two of the main spokespeople from the DIY bio movement, Mackenzie Cowell and Meredith Patterson. The program was "The Food Chain" (you can listen to it ... Read more

I guess I put my foot in it when I wrote that Genome Technology article on DIY Bio. I've already gotten a couple of e-mails today and I can see on the Google groups DIY bio section, that I managed to offend some people by suggesting doing biotechnology successfully at home might mean that you actually have to learn some biology.

Funny, huh?

It's like I suggested something heretical. People have to learn how to program to ... Read more

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a non-profit organization that opened it's doors in April, 2008. One of the great things about this institute is it's commitment to sharing biotech knowledge with the surrounding community. For the general public, HudsonAlpha has a ongoing written series on biology topics called Biotech 101. Teachers will probably find this useful too. There's a great description of Copy Number Variation written by Dr. Neil Lamb, their director of ... Read more
I don't know if any DIY biologists are looking for projects, but I think engineering yeast with a gene to detect heavy metals might be a good DIY biology project and I have some ideas for how to do this. What are the advantages of using yeast and working on this kind of problem?
  • This could have a socially beneficial result. Contamination of soils, water, and even toys with heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and others, is a
  • ... Read more

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