Interested in investigating the new possibilities of synthetic biology? We live in an age in which the internet is a very convenient source from which to obtain the knowledge we need about lots of subjects. Online, we can find wide-ranging background information, go deeper into particular areas by accessing collaboratively authored collections of knowledge, and participate in forums frequented by people who share our interests. But inquisitive individuals don’t only congregate on the Web; they also attend workshops and speeches about topics they want to know more about. And they organize them as well to enable others in the community to benefit from their insights, learn from their experience gleaned in actual practice, and share their DIY infrastructure.
Although laws—such as those restricting access to certain chemicals and synthetically produced DNA—limit their latitude, and the equipment necessary to create optimal laboratory conditions is still very costly, these public groups don’t let such hurdles prevent them from taking advantage of the experimentation opportunities open to them. In doing so, they confront very sensitive ethical questions and security issues that call for scrupulousness and due diligence. A scientific mission— another step forward in the advancement of society—has top priority for these highly motivated individuals. Above all, their ingenuity and making available their construction plans for reasonably priced technology have imparted fresh impetus to scientific research by amateur enthusiasts in the field of synthetic biology.