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Biotech Science Technology

Do It Yourself Biology Research, Past and Present 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the pass-the-genes dept.
Harperdog writes "Laura Kahn has a great article about the long and fascinating history of do-it-yourself research, from Darwin and Mendel to present day. From the article: 'Welcome to the new millennium of do-it-yourself (DIY) biology. Advances in technology in the twenty-first century have enabled anybody, with the desire and the disposable income, to build rather sophisticated laboratories in their own homes. Entire communities have even materialized to promote these efforts -- like the thousands of amateur biologists who contribute to DIYbio.org, a website "dedicated to making biology an accessible pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists and biological engineers."'"
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Do It Yourself Biology Research, Past and Present

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  • by mbkennel (97636) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:16PM (#40361739)

    becomes significant, it means that the existing scientific base and funding was wrecked. (Feels like Roman Empire AD400).

    In reality, people who work at something for a living (meaning full time employement) after many years of full time education, are the ones who produce results which are scientifically and economically useful.

    Hobbyist science is nice entertainment. Sure, a few former biologists (i.e. used to work full time learning and doing science until they couldn't get a job any more) might make some minor contributions----but their experience and knowledge came from working full time in the real industry.

    And nearly all professional science is "do it yourself or get your postdocs to do it"---who else knows enough? It takes lots of money and full time sustained effort for decades to get somewhere.

    Comparing today to Darwin's day is foolish---scientific productivity increased enormously once a significant number of people were able to do it for a living and with less regard for class history and personal family wealth.

  • I don't think people realize how much threat there is to worldwide food security just from new pests/diseases coming along.

    1) Commercial bananas are going extinct due to a fungus. Last I heard, there was no replacement crop that is resistant. This has happened several times in this industry, but this time there's no good replacement banana.
    2) Citrus (all commercial citrus) are going extinct due to a bacterium spread by sap-sucking insects. No resistant replacement crops that I know of.
    3) Chocolate, same deal, I forget the disease/vector.
    4) Wheat is under threat, too.

    Breeding new plant varieties is something everyone can try. One of them may be both resistant and commercially viable.

    --PM

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