Genetic modification is getting cheaper and biohackers are making it more accessible. This talk outlines the state of DIYbio and institutional synthetic biology; current challenges in biological programming and why you should be hacking biology. The technology to program biological self-replicating machines is here now. Synthetic biologists are reverse-engineering living cells and building bio-compilers that will facilitate abstract design of complex genetic programs. This talk will show how such a genetic program can be written using freely available parts and design tools. How the DNA can be synthesized, assembled, inserted into a cell culture and the result debugged. The tools to accomplish this exist in two spaces: The wetlab (biological) and the drylab (software). Wetlab access continues to be a limiting factor in participation by the wider community of citizen scientists, hackers and makers. Access restrictions both technological and legal are not foreign to hackers, and biohackers are currently facing obstacles such as GMO laws, expensive lab equipment and restricted access to materials, yet DIYbio groups around the world are building labs, acquiring expertise and making this technology available to everyone. This talk gives an overview of the gap in capabilities between professional labs and DIYbio labs, how it can be overcome, and the unique challenges of biosafety, ethics and intellectual property in biology.
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