Friday, December 26, 2008

Genetics and the Rise of Biohackers

I recently read a brief article titled, "Amateurs are trying genetic engineering at home." The idea is that anyone with an interest in genetic engineering can participate in their own homebrew experiments. These so-called biohackers work not within the confines of government or established medical research facilities, but on their own.

The article repeatedly makes the analogy between these biohackers and technological innovations such as the invention of computers or Google, adding, "Defenders say the future Bill Gates of biotech could be developing a cure for cancer in the garage."

But is the innovation of technology comparable to genetic engineering? There may indeed be some similarities, but there is a qualitative difference, particularly in the realm of ethics, when it comes to tinkering with the building blocks of life.

What do these biohackers hope to accomplish? Glowing tattoos are mentioned. And the world will never be the same.

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