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MIT Technology Review: DIY Biotech in your bedroom

Do-it-yourself: Cathal Garvey, 26, poses in the biology laboratory he created in his mother's spare bedroom. 
Deirdre Brennan

In a spare bedroom of his family's house in County Cork, Ireland, Cathal Garvey is repeating the feats that led to the dawn of the biotechnology age. He's growing bacteria. He's adding DNA. He's seeing what happens.

"To transform bacteria was once a huge deal, a new method," he explains. "Today, you can do it with Epsom salt and an over-the-counter brand of laxatives."

Garvey, who is 26, dropped out of a PhD program at a big cancer lab two years ago. Instead of giving up on science, however, he started doing it on his own, spending $4,000 to equip a laboratory in his parent's house. As a member of the "do-it-yourself" biology movement, Garvey takes inspiration from the early days of hobby computers, when garage tinkerers spawned companies like Apple and the rest of the PC industry. The idea now is that anyone—not only big-budget academic labs or large companies—should be able to practice biotechnology. More

Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 12:40PM by Registered CommenterJoel | Comments1 Comment | References2 References

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    MIT Technology Review: DIY Biotech in your bedroom - Joel Orr's Blog - Joel Orr's World of Technology|CADCAM|PLM
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    MIT Technology Review: DIY Biotech in your bedroom - Joel Orr's Blog - Joel Orr's World of Technology|CADCAM|PLM

Reader Comments (1)

Ummm... not saying that it shouldn't be done, yet what happens when some "tinkerer" lets loose the next plague of death? Should we let drop-out nuclear students experiment in the garage too? Citing computer "tinkerers" as an example to follow is a bit silly. When Steve Jobs was on acid, the worst that could happen was that he'd forget to turn off his soldering iron and burn down his garage. And to think, He STILL created the most virus free platform! (Respectively) :-D Anyway, not saying that this should never be done, yet I would like to see SOME controls on what goes on. After all, even the "professionals" that did go on to get their PhD's sure have let a lot of "experiments" escape their million dollar labs! (Plumb Island! *cough! cough!*)
February 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMe! :->

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