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DIY Biology: How Biopunks Quickly Became Scientific Gamechangers

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When people think of DIY, they think of cute Pinterest boards, poorly knit scarves, and impossibly messy baking projects -- not scientific experiments and biohackers. Maybe that's about to change, though; the DIYbio movement is gaining a foothold in the scientific community in a very interesting way.

The community biology movement, also known as DIYbio or biopunk, is a movement centered around the generation of scientific discussion and discovery. Leaders of the movement want to encourage a spirit of intellectual curiosity and experimentation by bringing people together to work on their ideas in a flexible environment.

Biopunks gather in local community labs to try out experiments and bounce ideas off of each other. The concept of a community lab or hackspace is common in engineering and computer science communities, but it's a new idea for biologists. It all started with a google group of science enthusiasts discussing different biology topics, who soon realized that there was little room for creativity in a structured biology lab. They decided to found a community led initiative, working to bring inquisitive people together to experiment and create.

Now, these community labs are popping up in various cities, like BosLab in Boston, Genspace in New York City, and Biocurious in Silicon Valley. Scientists of all backgrounds -- amateurs, professionals, students -- are coming together to discuss their ideas in an unstructured setting. We think this culture of experimentation is really unique and cool, and has some great potential. After all, we stumbled upon our AOB friends in a barn ;)

If you've got the biopunk bug, check out the labs in your neighborhood and let us know what you think! We dig community science.


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