Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wildtype vs Mutant

I have been feeling a little angry lately because it seems like the ability for DIY Scientists to accomplish things is still difficult. This is noticeably seen through a lack of Scientific publications or data generated by us.

People in DIY Bio seem to be working towards something that doesn't seem possible because of the lack of resources, knowledge and tools.
Papers, plasmids and strains that would be dirt cheap if the whole system wasn't run by profiteering gluttons($65 for a plasmid, seriously addgene? $200 for a strain at atcc).
Academic scientists sit by and use the phrase "open science" as a motto of apathy. How long would publishers survive if scientists stopped citing and publishing in their journals? Or refused to pay publishing fees? And just posted data to their website instead? And DIYers remain with no access.

At The ODIN(, I have been trying to provide cheap prices and single researcher size quantities to DIY Scientists to allow them to do experiments. After lots of contemplation, I want to move away from my job as a Scientist at NASA because I think big things can happen in DIY just like what came of the computer hackers in the 90s. I want to help that stuff happen by creating more resources and tutorials for people.

This is where I need your help.

In the next few months at The ODIN, we have plans to release a Codex of plasmids and bacterial strains(yeast maybe?) for cheap. We want people to have the resources they need. Sign-Up at and let me know what you are looking for or need.

We are also planning a crowdfunding campaign to take cutting edge genetic engineering tools like CRISPR and make them accessible physically, intellectually and financially. We might be looking for some beta-testers soon. Again, Sign-Up at to keep updated. (Also, let me know what you think of the video)

I think that until genetic engineering arrives in many homes, what we do will just be scary and misunderstood. At The ODIN, we want to create a conversation around "Why do people think mutants are bad when they are here to save us?", i.e. Wildtype vs Mutant.

I appreciate all the support people have given The ODIN so far and I hope to continue to provide to the community through biting commentary and ad hoc Science.

Finally, to make DIY more successful get involved if you aren't already. Teach classes at your local hackerspace, if you can't, then write tutorials online(I would be glad to host them on The ODIN), mentor other DIYers or if you need a mentor contact me!

There is a little ways to go before DIYers can accomplish cutting edge Science so let's make this thing work, together.