Announcing BioCoder issue 3

Advances in biology and biotechnology are driving us in exciting new directions — be part of the revolution!

We’re excited about the third issue of BioCoder, O’Reilly’s newsletter about the revolution in biology and biotechnology. In the first article of our new issue, Ryan Bethencourt asks the question “What does Biotechnology Want?” Playing with Kevin Kelly’s ideas about how technological development drives human development, Bethencourt asks about the directions in which biotechnology is driving us. We’re looking for a new future with significant advances in agriculture, food, health, environmental protection, and more.

That future will be ours — if we choose to make it. Bethencourt’s argument (and Kelly’s) is that we can’t not choose to make it. Yes, there are plenty of obstacles: the limits to our understanding of biology and genetics, the inadequate tools we have for doing research, the research institutions themselves, and even fear of the future. We’ll overcome these obstacles; indeed, if Bethencourt is right, and biology is our destiny, we have no choice but to overcome these obstacles. The only question is whether you’re part of the revolution or not.

What we’ve got

In addition to “What Biotechnology Wants,” here’s what’s in the current issue:

  • “Beyond the Lab and Far Away: A View from Washington”: the inevitable collision between DIYBio and government.
  • “DIY and Human Subjects Research”: the ethics of experimentation on humans.
  • “The Parallels Between Synthetic Biology and Personal Computing”: it’s deja vu all over again. Synthetic biology is following the same path as personal computing, 40 years later.
  • “Biotechnology Must Head for the Clouds”: cloud-based software for scientific research.
  • “DIY Biomimicry”: what we can learn from nature?
  • “Hacking Lab Equipment”: steps toward automating the laboratory.
  • “Fun and Fights with Fungi”: The trials, tribulations, and joys of barcoding mushroom DNA.
  • “Interview with Ian Marcus”: DIYBio on the road visits Ian Marcus, the developer behind the SynBio4All collaboration platform.

And of course, community announcements. Have suggestions? Send them in! To keep up-to-date, we’ll be adding new announcements to the BioCoder home page.

Write for Biocoder!

We’re always looking for new material. We have particular interests in synthetic biology and neuroscience; we’re also interested in your ideas — tell us what you’d like to write about. We need your news and announcements as well, and we want to hear about biohacking labs that are opening, new startups, and product announcements. If you’re interested in writing, email us at

To download the current issue of BioCoder, visit the BioCoder website.

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