Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Are Biohackers?

The first time I heard of biohackers, it sounded rather sinister to me. Apparently it is considered a benign, if not exciting and wonderful thing to the right people. Of course computer hackers tend to look at what they do in about the same light. I guess biohackers may be less bothersome to the rest of us for now at least.

Biohacking is a new movement to bring new biological tools to the common everday person like you and I. One of the mundane uses for it that I sort of liked was funny. 

A man in a large city was incensed about a neighborhood dog pooping all over the neighborhood and leaving it. He went to his local biohacking place and used the equipment to test saliva samples. 

He obtained samples from every dog in the neighborhood. He matched the genetic information from his samples to a sample of the offending poop. He was able to identify the culprit and his even more culpable owner and confront them with the local pooper scooper laws.

The people who run the biohacker labs all over the world are doing it for little, if any, pay. They do it as a public service to allow more people to learn and enjoy the benefits of using new discoveries in biology for themselves.

I never watched Jurassic Park, but it was not possible to avoid seeing trailers and shots from it all over the place. Those movies were so ubiquitous that actually watching them and even paying money to do so were not on my horizon of things I wanted to do. 

What I did see, however, made me a little nervous that the neighborhood biohackers might be incubating a tyrannosaurus rex or even a more benign dinosaur. I gather that sort of thing is not likely to happen too soon. It might inspire a neighborhood kid to become a scientist with the facilities to do so someday.

I am not enthusiastic about bringing back dinosaurs, but I would not mind passenger pigeons or helping to keep polar bears around. Someone has managed to clone an ancient frog and an insect so far.

The humor of someone using a biological equivalent of sledgehammer to crack a pooper scooper violator appeals to me as a good use for biohacking. I don't yet understand what kinds of uses this stuff has, but that is the point of having it available. More people will now have access to equipment and be able to learn for themselves. 

I have placed a few links below to get you started finding about this new movement that may change the world as much as the computer and cell phone already has. Who knows? You may become the biological equivalent of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Steven Wozniak.

No comments:

Post a Comment