A notice in the September issue of the Economist, reminds us of the impact of biotechnology on contemporary culture. With the global spread of genetic information and steadily falling prices on computers and other hardware devices, biotech is finding new user groups among biology graduates and computer aficionados who turn their living rooms into veritable dry labs and carry out experiments in silico. Basic biotechnological aid is already out there on the web, check websites like www.dnahack.com, and magazines such as Biotech Hobbyist, report on amateur attempts at creating skin-tissue cultures and cloning trees. Seen from a historical viewpoint, the emergence of biotech hobbyists is not surprising. As the amalgamation of two revolutions, the scientific and the industrial, once gave rise to amateur scientists in redingotes, toy steam engines and chemistry chests, so is the networked society and biomedicine, providing amateurs with the means to conduct biotechnical investigations on their own. Hobby anatomists are already dissecting the human body virtually and kids can map the DNA in the form of games such as Discovery DNA Explorer. What will come next? Toy PET-scanners, the teeny-weeny laparoscope or the youngsters portable biobank?

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