Biopunk: Solving Biotech's Biggest Problems in Kitchens and Garages

Biopunk: Solving Biotech's Biggest Problems in Kitchens and Garages

by Marcus Wohlsen

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101476352
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/14/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 445 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Marcus Wohlsen is a San Francisco–based technology reporter for the Associated Press. He is the author of Biopunk: Solving Biotech’s Biggest Problems in Kitchens and Garages.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Part I Hack/Open 1

Chapter 1 Blood/Simple 9

Chapter 2 Outsider Innovation 18

Chapter 3 Amateurish 28

Chapter 4 Make/Do 37

Chapter 5 Field Testing 49

Chapter 6 Cheap Is Life 60

Chapter 7 Homegrown 69

Chapter 8 My Life 77

Chapter 9 Ladies and Gentlemen 87

Chapter 10 Cancer Garage 99

Part II Read/Write 117

Chapter 11 Reading 122

Chapter 12 Writing 143

Part III Safety/Risk 165

Chapter 13 Threat 171

Chapter 14 Outbreak 184

Part IV Life/Science 193

Afterword 211

Acknowledgments 219

Notes 221

Index 243

Customer Reviews

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Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
careburpee on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book definitely has an interesting premise in its theme of do-it-yourself biohackers championing open-sourcing of intellectual property in an effort to pool research regarding DNA. Don¿t let the science scare you; author Marcus Wohlsen makes biology and the blueprint of life very accessible. In essence, this work deals with young, bright individuals who set up biology wet labs in their garages and kitchens and attempt to do for DNA what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did for computers. They are driven by the belief that free access to one another¿s findings, as opposed to the strict confidentiality of the major biotech companies, will lead to major discoveries and medical cures. A pooling of intellectual resources, so to speak.My first thought was concern that while this group is earnestly seeking cures and diagnostic avenues, there is bound to be another group bent on using the same technology with the opposite in mind. While the ethical argument is raised, Wohlsen does not spend any ink on how real and present that threat is-information which I would have appreciated in this age of global terrorism.A number of interesting people are introduced who are involved in various forms of research and who have a variety of world views. While some have smaller, more attainable goals in mind, such as finding a less expensive early detection test for which insurance companies might be more willing to pay. Others see the end goal as being able to engineer life itself.Within the narrow scope of those choosing to use their kitchen sink research for what most would view as positive goals, Wohlsen¿s research is impressive. As I said, the flip side-those who are intent on evil-is not covered at all. However, the book could use a good editor to help with organization (mine was a pre-editing galley, so that issue might well be ironed out) and the ending was rambling with odd, inconsequential references to punk music.Ranking: I would give this book four stars for the excellent job it does presenting the good side of bio hacking, but I really felt that the opposite side needed to be told as well to lend balance to the ethical questions. So...¿¿¿¿ I will round to four stars in those venues which do not allow for 1/2 star rankings, but my true rating is ¿¿¿1/2 stars for lack of balance. I am assuming the organizational issues and ending were worked out in the editing phase.
Sean191 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Biopunk is an interesting and frightening read. It's interesting to read about all the things scientist are doing with DNA coding and gene splicing and the like, but it's frightening when one considers all the things that science has unleashed on the world that ended up having unintended consequences. I think many of the things mentioned in the book have the potential to cause major problems. Ultimately, reading Biopunk is a bit like reading a science book, a history book, some biographies and maybe, possibly a little horror.... That being said, incredibly interesting and accessible information for the layman and worth the read for anyone interested in learning about what science is brewing up - from oil eating microbes, to the end of cancer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lit-in-the-last-frontier More than 1 year ago
BIOPUNK by Marcus Wohlsen ???1/2 (round up to ????) This book definitely has an interesting premise in its theme of do-it-yourself biohackers championing open-sourcing of intellectual property in an effort to pool research regarding DNA. Don't let the science scare you; author Marcus Wohlsen makes biology and the blueprint of life very accessible. In essence, this work deals with young, bright individuals who set up biology wet labs in their garages and kitchens and attempt to do for DNA what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did for computers. They are driven by the belief that free access to one another's findings, as opposed to the strict confidentiality of the major biotech companies, will lead to major discoveries and medical cures. A pooling of intellectual resources, so to speak. My first thought was concern that while this group is earnestly seeking cures and diagnostic avenues, there is bound to be another group bent on using the same technology with the opposite in mind. While the ethical argument is raised, Wohlsen does not spend any ink on how real and present that threat is-information which I would have appreciated in this age of global terrorism. A number of interesting people are introduced who are involved in various forms of research and who have a variety of world views. While some have smaller, more attainable goals in mind, such as finding a less expensive early detection test for which insurance companies might be more willing to pay. Others see the end goal as being able to engineer life itself. Within the narrow scope of those choosing to use their kitchen sink research for what most would view as positive goals, Wohlsen's research is impressive. As I said, the flip side-those who are intent on evil-is not covered at all. However, the book could use a good editor to help with organization (mine was a pre-editing galley, so that issue might well be ironed out) and the ending was rambling with odd, inconsequential references to punk music. Ranking: I would give this book four stars for the excellent job it does presenting the good side of bio hacking, but I really felt that the opposite side needed to be told as well to lend balance to the ethical questions. So... ???? I will round to four stars in those venues which do not allow for 1/2 star rankings, but my true rating is ???1/2 stars for lack of balance. I am assuming the organizational issues and ending were worked out in the editing phase.
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