Community Biolabs

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Aaron Saenz:

"No matter what intentions the community has, however, the idea of people performing biotech research on their own (even at a low level and just for fun) doesn’t sit well with many in power. It often doesn’t sit well with me. DIY biologists are generally a responsible bunch, but DIY biology does have the potential to be dangerous.

What can we do about that? Well, we could ask amateur biologists to get together and form their own labs, complete with insurance and documented adherence to safety regulations, just like any professional group. That’s an idea that’s already springing up all around the world. ‘Community labs’, like Biocurious in the San Francisco Bay Area, are working towards providing a space where amateur biologists can get together and pool resources in order to perform safe and interesting science. These community biolabs are probably going to follow the hackerspace model with monthly member fees, group education, and a mixture of private and community wide projects." (


"Biocurious is an interesting example of the community lab concept because it has been very successful in some of its efforts but is still working on establishing itself. Tito Jakowski (Open PCR, Pearl Gel Box), Jeff Perfutto (Open PCR) and Joseph Jackson (Lava Amp, Open Science Summit) are all associated with the lab. While BioCurious started in a garage, it is now between homes. The founder, Eri Gentry, is looking to get the group into a real commercial space complete with liability insurance. Gentry and the rest of her crew are a great example of how the DIY community lab is a legit enterprise capable of performing good science." (


  1. OpenPCR [1]
  2. Otyp [2]
  3. LavaAmp

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