Synthetic Biology in an open source community

[article] [edit page] [discussion] [history]

From Humanitarian-FOSS Project Development Site

Synthetic Biology

The word “synthetic” means “artificial” so it is quite fitting that Synthetic Biology is an innovative practice in which biological systems are created and manipulated. There are countless fields in which Synthetic Biology is utilized, but for the purposes of our research, I will focus on the genes. Synthetic Biology provides scientists with the opportunity to test their hypotheses about DNA because, through collaboration with programmers, scientists can actually have their DNA structures coded and then created by a machine that takes the code and turns it into an output. Most scientists take their DNA structures and place them in an organism in hopes of seeing a possible change, and claiming the fame to their discovery.

An Open Source Cure

As mentioned above, the discoveries that scientists make are usually patented, which poses an issue with efficiency. If every new finding is “owned”, other researches are held back by a timely process which requires them to contact the patent holder to gain permission of use. Since a DNA discoveries can be a major claim to fame, no one wants to freely provide their findings, which are normally the results of long and tedious hours. However, time is money, especially in the field of researching cures for diseases. At this point, we need to put this slow process on steroids.

An open source system could be applied to solve the issue of time, while still preserving fame. Ideally, researchers could create a community in which ideas could be fair game while still holding credit. To protect against possible abusers of the information at hand, members who want to join could conceivably go through an extensive background check coupled with a check on their intentions before being granted access to the community.

External Links

Drew Endy

Personal tools