If Dr. Frankenstein Had Been an Adolescent…

Mark Shea has an oft-recited line that fits this turn of events well:

Using homemade lab equipment and the wealth of scientific knowledge available online, these hobbyists are trying to create new life-forms through genetic engineering — a field long dominated by Ph.D.s toiling in university and corporate laboratories.
In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly.
“People can really work on projects for the good of humanity while learning about something they want to learn about in the process,” she said.

As Mark says, human history is often a tale of two questions: “What could it hurt?” Followed by, “How were we supposed to know?”

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