Already a high potential for the largest biology breakthrough of the year: the creation of a new synthetic lifeform called JCVI-syn3.0. Craig Venter, the Elon Musk of biotech, has developed the smallest genome in the world. Syn3.0 is a life form that consists of only 473 genes, which is about 50 less than its natural counterpart, and represents the bare minimum of requirements for an organism to live.
Our blog is a quest towards democratic biotechnology. But why is democracy of value in technological development? Should we even pollute labs with the ambivalent needs of citizens? It seems reasonable since what labs produce could pollute our lives. And there seem to be proper ways to mind the public. Let’s consider the perspective of two philosophers.
So here it starts, my quest into biotechnology. Our project aims at mapping and understanding biotechnology and its development process (for more info: our introduction post, our about page). In my thread within this project the focus will lie on research and engineering. Our future is being shaped by decisions made in labs. Nature and technology have never been more linked than in the current development of biotechnology. Let’s dive into what makes biotechnology so revolutionary! What is it exactly?
Technologies shape our lives, but who shapes them? The answer seems hidden behind laboratory doors. With emerging biotechnology in mind, such questions become pressing. In 10 years there will likely be bioengineered products in our homes. Who influences their development? And for whom are they actually developed? Why is research funded? Do citizens play a part?
This blog documents our journey to an answer. We are Duuk Baten, Erik van de Pieterman and Gijs de Boer, and we study the relation between research labs, design studios and the world outside. The upcoming three months we will shed light on the politics behind synthetic biology.