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of 2011 the International DIYbio community organized potential to significantly impact global health improvement, congresses in the US and Europe to establish a collective code particularly in developing countries where access to expensive of ethics for the community. The following year and delicate diagnostic equipment is a significant limitation. established a ‘Question and Answer’ platform on biosafety; a While some use these early successes to argue that the stage free web service which allows amateurs to submit questions is set for the “bioscience version of Apple or Google to be to professional biosafety experts. While all of the above go born in a dormitory room or garage”6, I for one feel that the some way towards easing public concern and facilitating social DIYbio movement is unlikely to morph into a version of the legitimacy, regulatory and safety issues still remain the most establishment that it currently eschews. For me, the future is significant barrier to the continued evolution of the movement. more likely to be one of co-operation rather than assimilation. However, perhaps the most obvious limitation (outside of To borrow from the computer jargon which has come to safety and policy issues) is the gap that currently exists between synonymize the field — today’s biohackers are tomorrow’s what is possible in the average hackerspace versus what is “bioApp” developers; no longer a subversive group to be feared achievable in a typical professional or academic laboratory. and derided, but an essential component of biology’s future INK With some notable exceptions, such as the La Paillasse bioink development. M project — a non-toxic biodegradable alternative to modern ink, DIY SynBio wetware outputs fall far short of even the References most pedestrian of academic labs. One obvious explanation 1. Hochachka WM, Fink D, Hutchinson RA, Sheldon D, Wong for this is a lack of specialist equipment, while most academic WK, Kelling S. Data-intensive science applied to broad-scale labs are stocked with name-brand apparatus and laboratory citizen science. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 2012; 27:130-7. consumables, biohackers make do with what they have 2. DIYBio (or more usually have not!). Necessity being the mother of 3. iGEM invention, some of these hardware innovations and inventions 4. DremelFuge art of colour explained by Margaret Franklin and have ironically come to represent the communities’ firstThe science and 5. Amplino Tom Kennedy. A colourful and informative paperback. €15 post free tangible successes. The DremelFuge for example; developed 6. Hacking goes squishy. The Economist Technology from by Cork based DIYbio practitioner Cathal Garvey, Quarterly, 2009. is a simple component which turns an ordinary Dremel rotary-tool into a lab-quality centrifuge4. More sophisticated devices include, Amplino5, Dr Roy Sleator is a lecturer at Cork Institute of an inexpensive, portable PCR diagnostic system, Technology’s Department of Biological Sciences and a capable of detecting malaria in less than 40 minutes Principal Investigator at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic from a single drop of blood. Centre, University College Cork. Sleator is also Thus, while the DIYbio movement is founding Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal unlikely, at least in the short term, Bioengineered. The article is a redacted to contribute significantly to our version of an Editorial entitled The synthetic fundamental understanding of biology future published in the 5:2 issue of biological processes, disruptive Bioengineered see technologies like Amplino have the COLOUR

often be anuscripts can a traced back to tery through . particular monas by the scribes the inks used have been an analysis of of substances wide variety freedom of flow, For writing a requirements; basic the Boiled tree found to meet permanency. ooms, high degree of by ink-cap mushr clarity, and a mush produced root of the yellow bark, the black powdered wers, A have been used. blue from cornflo even strong coffee ned bark flag iris, and winter blacke made from the glue. One black ink was with milk or mixed the twigs from oak galls, of blackthorn of ink was made oak trees. One common type d by insects on round balls forme ation was five pounds of iron formula for prepar s of gum, 12 gallons of water, pound galls. sulphate, five gallon of oak by volume, 12 s must and measuring galls for 12 gallon the oak h enoug how big Collecting lt but it just shows more extensive have been difficu and was. On an even lack and gum, demand for ink dirty made from lampb was ink although very scale Indian became a big, lampblack, grained soot Europe. The soot, producing fine of south eastern printers’ ink. industry in parts linseed to make 63 was mixed with

The quality of medieval inks had to be high for manuscripts such as this to survive. This is a page from a medical manuscript, the Book of the O’Lees, preserved at the Royal Irish Academy.

saturation, and Colour has hue, three dimensional brightness, and gh harder to modelling, althou te to more accura visualise, led ication. systems of classif

of how colours gives a good idea the colour from The colour wheel By subtracting opposite hue. relate to each other. wheel we get the one side of the


cliff above against a granite schist lying up Vegetation covered Wicklow. is Lough Oular, Co Granite which

e ion is the Mourn during initial event. The except it developed years old and to the melting only 55 million , possibly due (see Atlantic Ocean ing Antrim basalts opening of the crust by the ascend earlier). of the Earth’s Rocks” base of other Volcanic granite in the “Basalts and molten hot of plates: The generation movement of sinks to is driven by the the Earth’s crust , the over-ridden crustal plate Figure (see where they collide liquid granite it melts to form they release extremely a depth where plates pull apart the crust it in turn melts 3). Where those the mantle which hot basalt from

niferous plants


hibernicus, A. Palaeopteris Co Kilkenny. from Kiltorcan, loachitica, B. Alethopteris Tipperary. Ballynstick, Co lonchilides, C. Alethopteris colliery, Co from Drumnagh Cork. endron, D. Root of Lepidod Laois. Towerstown, Co Photographs: Tom

The granite with granite rocks. is well-endowed out from the Figure 15. Ireland northeast stands years old. Mountains is the r — only 55 million of the Mourne significantly younge others in being




Peadar McArdle guides us around Ireland’s diversified geology. Paperback €15 postfree from In 1795, the chance discovery of a nugget was immediately followed by a gold rush as people were drawn by the prospect of picking up instant wealth from Wicklow’s Goldmine River. In this entertaining and highly informative book, Peadar McArdle, former Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland, describes how the frenzy has never really died down, and to this day, panners hope to be rewarded by the glimmer of gold.

Gold Frenzy

The story of Wicklow’s gold Peadar McArdle

Date for your diary

20th May 2014, 8pm The author, Peadar McArdle, talks about Wicklow’s gold rush at the Goat Grill, Goatstown, Dublin.

Hardback €20 From Dubray, GSI, and selected bookshops, or buy post free from

SCIENCE SPIN Issue 64 Page 19

Albertine Kennedy Publishing ISBN 0 906002 08 7

Science spin 64  

Haunted by Pyrite, Teachers Asked to do the Impossible, Biohackers, Ask a Scientist, Detecting Gravity Waves, What Happened to the Irish Elk

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