One motivation for establishing DIYbio.org in advance of widespread activity is to help create frameworks for best practices worldwide. Amateur and hobbyist communities formed around many other technical and scientific areas such as ham radio, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology, rocketry, and perhaps most celebrated today, personal computing. In each you will find ethical codes, norms of practice, and shared resources that promote the success of the community and the individuals in it. Activity in the life sciences by do-it-yourself biologists is following the same path.
With an informal network of 2,000+ individuals in the DIYbio community and with input from experts and stakeholders from other areas, we are gathering the critical mass necessary to begin the collaborative work that will help us establish a vibrant, productive and safe community. The Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center has partnered with DIYbio.org to help catalyze these efforts within the community. The project is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and seeks to work with the community to establish a code of ethics, develop norms for safety, and create shared resources for promotion of safe practice by amateurs.
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Presentations, Press, Additional Reading:
- “DIYbio: Origin, Activities & Scenarios for the Future.” Presented to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Philadelphia. September 14, 2010. (Watch, meeting agenda)
- Heidi Ledford. Garage biotech: Life hackers. Amateur hobbyists are creating home-brew molecular-biology labs, but can they ferment a revolution? Nature 467, 650-652 (2010) | doi:10.1038/467650a (Published online 6 October 2010). Read now.
- Editorial. Garage biology: Amateur scientists who experiment at home should be welcomed by the professionals. Nature. Volume 467: p.634 (07 October 2010) doi:10.1038/467634a. Read now.
- Kojo Nnamdi Show on NPR. Aired March 22, 2011. Details.
- Read the press release announcing collaboration between Woodrow Wilson Center and DIYbio.org