Kickstarting the Future

I knew I wanted to fund the Glowing Plants Kickstarter as soon as I heard of it. Synthetic Biology is not quite still in its infancy, but it’s still learning to walk, and projects like this play their part.

Synthetic Biology is still under the horizon for just about everyone, but there are already biohacker clubs. We’re going to need rules, we’re going to have to learn to be careful, very careful, but this new science is full of amazing potential. I’ve just joined the funders for two more Kickstarters, both to create low-cost essential lab kit for Synthetic biologists.

Open qPCR* will bring low cost diagnostics to everyone – in the home, third-world doctors, field workers. It will let us quickly test food safety, detect diseases like Ebola, HIV and Malaria, inspect your own genotype, and speed and cheapen existing lab work

miniPCR is another DNA search and analysis mini-lab. Essentially a DNA amplifier, this one had control and monitor from a bluetooth app.

There’s a huge amount of interest for these projects. Glowing Plants asked for $65K and received $484K, OpenqPCR asked for $50K and got $132k, and miniPCR is currently at $62k on a $20K starter.

I’m pretty excited by all this. For one thing, I’ll soon be getting my own miniPCR lab and will be able to start my first experiments.

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* PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction, a way to rapidly multiply copies of a single strand of DNA. The technique won the 1993 Nobel prize for Chemistry.


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