Do-it-yourself Biology (DIYBio): between education, innovation, subversion and empowerment

The 21st century is the century of biology. While the realm of biology was (and still is) considered as “complex”, there are a number of initiatives attempting to convert biotechnology into a real engineering discipline. In synthetic biology, tools and processes are developed to make biology easier to engineer and to allow more and more people to design and produce biological systems. In the context of DIY science it comes as no surprise that these tools and processes are not only taken up by universities or industry but also by non-traditional players. By analysing the educational and professional background of the people who carry out DIYBio, looking at the different ways they organize their labs, and finding out what motivates them and what their goals are, we identify a number of guiding principles such as education, innovation, subversion and empowerment that all seem to be important for the community.

- Schmidt M. 2008. Diffusion of synthetic biology: a challenge to biosafety. Systems and Synthetic Biology. Vol. 2(1-2):1-6

- Seyfried G, Pei L, Schmidt M. 2014. European Do-it-yourself (DIY) Biology: beyond the hope, hype and horror. BioEssays. Vol. 36(6)