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jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015

European do-it-yourself (DIY) biology: Beyond the hope, hype and horror

Fig. Kitchen-style equipment for
amateur biology experiments
The encounter of amateur science with synthetic biology has led to the formation of several amateur/do-it-yourself biology (DIYBio) groups worldwide. Although media outlets covered DIYBio events, most seemed only to highlight the hope, hype, and horror of what DIYBio would do in the future. Here, we analyze the European amateur biology movement to find out who they are, what they aim for and how they differ from US groups. We found that all groups are driven by a core leadership of (semi-)professional people who struggle with finding lab space and equipment. Regulations on genetic modification limit what groups can do. Differences between Europe and the US are found in the distinct regulatory environments and the European emphasis on bio-art. We conclude that DIYBio Europe has so far been a responsible and transparent citizen science movement with a solid user base that will continue to grow irrespective of media attention.

Seyfried G, Pei L, Schmidt M. European do-it-yourself (DIY) biology: Beyond the hope, hype and horror. Bioessays. 2014;36(6):548-551. doi:10.1002/bies.201300149.
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