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Are amateur genetic engineers dangerous?

I came across an interesting article discussing the dangers of amateur genetic engineers.

"A group of so-called “bio-hackers” is setting up a community laboratory called DIYbio in Cambridge, MA. They want to provide publicly available lab space to budding amateur bio-engineers that need equipment and experiment space for their projects. The project was co-founded by Mackenzie Cowell, a young man of 24 who was a biology major in college. Mackenzie says, “We should try to make science more sexy and more fun and more like a game.” At the same time, he says that amateurs will probably pursue serious work such as new vaccines and super-efficient biofuels, as well as less mainstream projects, like tattoos that glow in the dark, according to an AP article.

Proponents of amateur genetic research point out the large number of discoveries that have been made by amateur scientists, outside of “normal” research channels. Detractors say that such work by non-professionals could release a plague into society, or become the dupes of terrorists, and that such work could cause diseases or irreversible environmental damage."

Read more: http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2008/12/26/are-amateur-genetic-engineers-dangerous/
DIYBio website: http://diybio.org/


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