Opensource biology is coming!. Open-Source Biology And Its Impact on Industry by Rob Carlson Growing living paper, hacking the genome, possible in a home lab in the next 30yrs (or now, if you are really on the ball)

PCR patent expiry (search for it, many articles). The core PCR technique is now in the public domain. This means that hobyists are now free to make their own PCR machine and grow their own polymerase without prosecution for patent infringement. This technology is used in all kinds of diagnostic tests, including paternity, maternity, as well as used in constructing artificial genes. The PCR machine is a thermal cycler, where samples are heated and cooled in a cycle, which causes the DNA to melt/ denature, allows the primers to bind to the DNA(primers are small fragments of DNA that bind complimentary regions), the polymerase enzyme to replicate the DNA, and for them all to be disassociated again. I can see that it would not be to difficult to use a micro controller to control a heater and a peltier device to do this.

(via bartaku)

Some collected thought circuits at the “Alter Nature Symposium”, about Designing Nature; Designing Human Life; Owning Life

Fri, Feb.18, 011 - University of Hasselt [BE] - Program and Speakers info >

Designing Nature

Ignace Schops (landscaping expert, herpetologist; International Ambassador of Biodiversity).

“ A sustainable civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they never will sit…

Tourism is one of the biggest threats for nature.

We entered the sixth stage of extinction - (See > The Red List of Threatened Species (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) -

We need international agreements; nature-based-design (f.i. self-healing plastic; reindeer poo in a box); develop a “reconnection model” and make Ecosystem services part of the GDP for the protection of the natural capital and poverty reduction - (See > The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study -

America wants to be a one-day China (Al Gore) ”

Adam Zaretsky - Art & Gene Action: Pathways to Expression

A project that is “a pursuit towards Intentional Germline Manipulation of the human inheritance. Transgenic humans will live to experience life beyond the limits of benefit or dignity but with added attributes.”

“Diversity is a record of the unpredictability of anatomy. Time based living media shows control's drift. Beyond the anarchistic love of results, what can drive the widest range of aestheticised bodies to leap into science's waiting arms?”

“Improvisational Jazz in the Research Room is allowed only in War Times”

“Through art historical diversity as a methodology, we can include all of art's refined movements as pathways to gene expression. F.i. under-explored avenues include: Rococco Biolistic Transgenic Arts, Synchromism Electroporation Germline Arts; DNA OP Art Stem Cell Microinjection Arts, Constructed Painting Lipid Transfer Genetic Arts, 3rd Millennium Eugenic Husbandry Bioarts; Sexual Diversity as a Reproductive Fitness Test…” “…new bodies appear, Pangaean Bodies (jazz again), with the widest range of Aesthetics, so that canyons, swamps, caves, of feeling can be expressed anatomically. Nature as transvestite.”

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (artist/writer/designer) - Synthetic Aesthetics - How Would You Design Nature?

'Will scientists become the exclusive designers of living technology? Is this even design, or must we find new words to describe it? We might have to define new design tools to negotiate this changing interpretation of life.'

'Synthetic aesthetics is a research project at Stanford and Edinburgh Universities, initiated by scientists to investigate what this kind of design is and what it might hint at for future science and culture. It includes scientists, artists and designers.'

Designing Human Life

Prof. Dr. Catherine Verfaillie. Expert in Stem Cell Biology. Director of the Interdepartmental Stem Cell Institute at the KULeuven. “Scientific and ethical questions implicated in the use of Embryonic (self-renewing) Stem Cells, that can heal all diseases, could be avoided through the direct transformation of cells into neurons.” Prof. M. Wernig (Lab); Stanford University

Artist Koen Vanmechelen [BE] talked about his well known Cosmopolitan Chicken Project launched in the late nineties to create through cross-breeding domestic chickens from all over the world the “truly cosmopolitan chicken”; 'a metaphor for the global cultural and genetic mix that diversity and hybridization create'. -

dr. Ir. Rinie van Est from the dutch Rathenau Institute raised questions fused by the Bio-Machine Era [Joel Garreau, 2004]: 'What does it mean to be human/What is the human condition; Who controls the brain interventions; f.i. remote controlled rats; total engagement in games > gamification of life, of war… He pointed at two bio-engineering megatrends, B iology becomes T echnology and vice versa. A convergence takes place of Information revolution, Materials(nano) revolution, Biotech revolution (Jeremy Rifkin would have asked why Mr. van Est does not mention the Energy revolution).

Huib de Vriend (LIS Consult) states that 'synthetic biology is still in its infancy, we cannot construct life, only complex systems that are still more 'natural' than 'artificial. But we can expect a paradigm shift since we move from reading dna to writing and synthesizing it, and from the modification of existing biological systems towards the creation/modulation of new biological systems.'

Synthetic biology will change our lives through several fields like medicine (synthetic DNA, cheaper drugs, targeted drug delivery sys, biosensors and stem cell therapies); metabolically designed microorganisms and optimized photovoltaic systems (artificial leaves) for the production of biobased energy, fuels and other biobased products; Biosensors for rapid detection in military applications.“

Mr. de Vriend showed the video of an experiment with bacterial cells that are turned into synchronised “genetic clocks” - programming them to switch a fluorescent protein on and off, so that protein waves of light go through cells. The aim of the research and engineering experiments at Jeff Hasty Lab (University of California) is “to use computational tools to design biological circuits from scratch”.

And pointed out the importance of The Registry of Standard Biological Parts; “a continuously growing collection of genetic parts that can be mixed and matched to build synthetic biology devices and systems.”

The Creation of a Biological Spare Part: Manufacturing Tissues by Developmental Engineering Prof. Dr. Frank Luyten (Tigenix, BE); expert in regenerative medicine, cellular therapeutics, cartilage/joint surface repair and the adult stem cells in synovial tissue.

“A close interaction between the efforts of biologists and of engineers can speed up tissue engineering processes / Growing Systems f.i. like growing a bone in vitro with Bioreactors… We introduced the term Developmental Engineering, integrating concepts from rapid advances in developmental biology, systems biology, and network science, the term describes a methodology for rational and accurate design of robust, well- controlled manufacturing processes”. -

Owning Life

Here and now In the future, the performative talk - by designer/researcher J. Paul Neeley - President of Gaia Corporation (2023), “company of the past next 12 years” - introducing -and commenting on- Biotech patents, risks, the ownership of life

Gaia Corporation's core business is “to appropriate compensation for Earth's work”, with the mission “to act as stewards of the earth's intellectual property, to promote and protect bio diversity, and to manage synthetic biological risk.” How to understand the Intrinsic Value of an invention and arrange the intellectual property - who owns the genes is responsible for the consequences”. The companies shareholders are Plants & Animals. It uses the following formula to calculate what a product economically means to the system - to arrange an appropriate compensation for Earth's work:

Effective License Price = (Human Utility x Eco Utility)3 / % Biomass x Risk)

(Gaia Factor (proprietary) + E (Total Energy Consumption) x GGP

Case: Tapeworm Data - for Nike “A GMO tapeworm that registers biodata of the athlete, with the next generation coming up -the TW+V3 that can produce drugs in the body in response to the body condition.”

BIOCOMMONS: “Open source does not work in biological systems. Capitalism is the only model that protects Earth's Resources”

- J. Paul Neeley back in the now >

also see the above mentioned technology based on intentional, open-source biology

On EU-Patents (drives and fears)

Dr. Philippe Jacobs (Ghent University applications) “The EU Commission acknowledges that turning scientific research findings, including research findings in life sciences, into commercially exploitable methods and products is crucial to improve the quality of life and to enhance the industrial competitiveness of Europe. European public research organizations such as universities are therefore encouraged to actively engage in transferring knowledge to industry via collaborations, licensing and spin-offs. 'Owning Life' appears a temporary tool to bring useful inventions to the market.

Dr. Berthold Rutz (EU patent examiner)

Definition of Patents: A legal title granting the holder the right to prevent others from using an invention without authorisation. It is not a right to practise the invention

The patent system added to the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.“ Abraham Lincoln According to Rutz the first written account of a patent on living matter, was on baker's yeast in 1787. 'However, only at the end of the 20th century with the rise of genetic engineering was pattent law applied more broadly to living organisms. Today, genetically modified microorganisms, plants and animals are patentable in many jurisdictions, including the US, Japan and EU. Still, many intuitively reject the concept of 'Patents on Life'. The recent public debate on about synthetic biology and artificial life -f.i. on the pending patent on Craig Venter's minimal genome bacterium- has reignite this discussion: Can owning a patent on a living organism be equated with owning life? Does synthetic biology differ substantially from “classical” genetic engineering and what role do patents play?”

And perhaps a 2-sentence pop-up during Wauthier Robyns, CEO of Assuralia insurance company [BE] talk (words) “Insurance, the silent keystone of modern life” - “The problem with nanotech is the difficulty to estimate its risk.”

Alter Nature - A multi-event project by Arts Center Z33 [Hasselt, [BE] a.o., including Exhibition “Alter Nature - We Can” that focuses on 'the different ways in which people have displaced, manipulated or designed nature: from small gardens to private islands, from carrots and bonsai trees to acoustic plants and orange pheasants.' Curated by Karen Verschooren till March 13, 2011 -

Body / Art / Bioethics - A SymbioticA Symposium exploring the culture and ethics of the use and ownership of living material, from the cell to the whole body, in art, science, law and philosophy. Universtity of Western Australia, Perth. August 6, 2010. -

Certified Copy - An exhibition on the notions of copying and cloning at Verbeke Foundation [BE] till April 10, 2011-

Arts & Genomics Centre/ BioArts - a multidisciplinary platform led by Prof.dr. R. Zwijnenberg that “…attempts to expand the public debate on (future) goals, means, possibilities and use of results of genomics, from the specific point of view of bio-genetic art and develop tools for drawing in new audiences.” Faculty of Science, Leiden Institute of Chemistry (Hol) -

Biopolitics / Human Tissue Economies - Prof. Catherine Waldby. Director of the Biopolitics of Science research network, Sydney University. - One of her research areas is a feminist-Marxist critique of the distribution and use of parts of bodies, classified as “gift” or “waste” -

Environmental Studies 'Centrum voor Milieukunde'; University of Hasselt [BE] research focus on disturbed molecular mechanisms within plants which are subject to stress caused by heavy metals. Prof. Dr. Ann Cuypers -

Gen Doping Contra: Gene Doping Panel of the World Anti-Doping Program

Pro: Prof. Andy Miah (Futurologist/Philosopher) - pro Transdisciplinary creative solutions -

Both blossom in documentary 'Die Mutanten Greifen An' (Mutants Attack) A German documentary (ZDF), discussed in this article >

Hasty Lab of Systems Biodynamics -

Impacts of Genetic Engineering in Food and Agriculture - Union of Concerned Scientists (US)

Technoprogressivism - The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (US) - Showcase technoprogressive ideas

Design as a Method - Governing by Design - Paolo Antonelli's (MoMA): “design applied not as a mere aesthetic or functional tool but as a conceptual method, based on scenarios that keep human beings in focus, with the means consequently allotted in elegant, economic, and organic ways to achieve the imagined goals. Even though design alone will not solve everything, it will, as always, help create and implement effective solutions that are attuned to human nature.” In: Seed Magazine, February 20, 2011 -

Garreau, Joel. (2005) Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies, and What It Means to Be Human - Doubleday Publishers.

GM and Nanotech / Grey Goo Joy, Bill. Why the future doesn't need us. Our most powerful 21st-century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech - are threatening to make humans an endangered species. In: Wired. Issue 8.04, Apr. 2000 -

GM and Plants/Animals

  1. Ordered List Item“Dawn of Plantimals. Could a fish with built-in photosynthetic bacteria help feed the world?” Debora MacKenzie and Michael Le Page. In: NewScientist, December 2010, Volume 208, #2790. Pp 33-35. Featuring Christina Agapakis' research (Harvard Medical School) and experiment on injecting photosynthetic bacteria into the eggs of zebrafish.
  1. Ordered List Item“Why Most Animals So Rarely Photosynthesize” - John Rennie, The Gleaming Retort, December 20,2010
  1. Ordered List ItemA Tale of Two Botanies. Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins. In: Wired. Issue 8.04, Apr. 2000 -

Jones, R. A. L. (2004). Soft Machines: Nanotechnology and Life. Oxford Univ. Press (UK). -

Steels, Luc. Analogies between Genome and Language Evolution Sony CSL, Paris. 2004.

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