When breakthroughs begin at home

January 17, 2012 | Source: New York Times

(Credit: DIYbio.org)

DIYBio.org, an online hub for sharing ideas on DIYbio (do-it-yourself biology) has grown to more than 2,000 members since its inception.

One of the movement’s rallying points is Genspace, a nonprofit laboratory in Brooklyn that is open to members of the public, regardless of scientific background. Similar labs have sprouted in Boston and San Francisco.

Genspace has roughly a dozen members, and each pays $100 a month to cover rent and what laboratory people call consumables: chemical agents, disposable tubes and other paraphernalia that need to be replaced regularly.

The initial concept is similar to the ethos of open-source software development: get as many brains as possible working collaboratively on biotechnology.