Biosafety in DIY-bio laboratories: from hype to policy: Discussions about regulating DIY biology tend to ignore the extent of self-regulation and oversight of DIY laboratories.
MetadataShow full item record
Sundaram, L. (2021). Biosafety in DIY-bio laboratories: from hype to policy: Discussions about regulating DIY biology tend to ignore the extent of self-regulation and oversight of DIY laboratories.. EMBO reports, 22 (4), e52506. https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202152506
DIY-biology – very broadly construed as the practice of biological experiments outside of traditional environments such as universities, research institutes or companies – has, over the last decade, gained prominence. This has raised a number of questions about biosafety and biosecurity, both in the media and by policy-makers wishing to keep on top of recent trends in biotechnology. There are a number of challenges here. For a start, the term itself escapes easy definition: Synonyms or related terms abound, including garage biotechnology, bio-hacking, self-modification/grinding, citizen science, bio-tinkering, bio-punk, even transhumanism. Some accounts even use ‘DIY-bio’ interchangeably with synthetic biology, even though, as discussed briefly below, these terms refer to very different emerging trends in biology. Some of these terms are more charged than others but each carries its own connotations with regards to practice, norms and legality. As such, conversations about the risk, safety and regulation of DIY-bio can be fraught. At a time when numerous policy-discussions about DIY-bio are being initiated, it is crucial that prevailing practice be considered thoughtfully, and accurately. Key questions that researchers, policymakers and the public need to consider include: • How do different DIY-bio spaces exist within regulatory frameworks, and enact cultures of (bio)safety? • How are these influenced by norms and governance structures? • If something is unregulated, must it follow that it is unsafe? What about the reverse: does regulatory oversight necessarily lead to safer practice?
Containment of Biohazards, Biology, Laboratories, Policy, Self-Control
Schmidt Sciences Isaac Newton Trust
Schmidt Sciences (unknown)
Embargo Lift Date
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202152506
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/318279
All rights reserved