DIYBio and Plant Sciences!
During my degree I have had the great fortune of meeting many self-defined DIY-biologists; people without traditional scientific training but still share a fascination for discovering and understanding the world around us. Normally they are exceptionally creative people and disruptive thinkers. They are the propellers of citizen science; a global movement, which empowers citizens to gain control on their environment and has had the fundamental side effect of the democratisation science. This last process I consider its greatest contribution: with the booming of bioengineering and synthetic biology I feel the gap between scientists and the general public will become unbridgeable unless action is taken soon. This framework inspired my team and me to develop tools to work on plants in these DIY labs: growth incubators, synthetic gene constructs, a low-cost gene gun, etc. We hope a greater hands-on interaction with plans will awake the fascination they should receive! Moreover, we envisioned these tools to be a useful starting point to open the discussion on the demonisation of GMOs.
Below I attach an article I wrote for Triple Helix, a science-based magazine from the University of Cambridge. The article expands on the importance of DIY science to yield a greater public engagement in scientific advances.
(This is the whole issue, which is focused on the intersection between science and society, definitely a couple of articles worth a read!)
Hope you enjoy! :)