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(What are the Guidelines for Posting to the DIYBio mailing lists and/or Forums?)
(Appendix 1 - list of Synthetic Biology Companies)
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*[ ATG:biosynthetics]
*[ ATG:biosynthetics]
*[ Blue Heron Biotechnology, Inc.]
*[ Blue Heron Biotechnology, Inc.]
*[ CODA Genomics]
*[ DNA2.0]
*[ Codon Devices, Inc.]
*[ DNA 2.0]
*[ febit synbio gmbh]
*[ febit synbio gmbh]

Revision as of 10:43, 17 September 2009

DIYbio FAQ v1.2: "The biohacker's FAQ"

Please update this FAQ mercilessly with Q&A !

This Frequently Asked Questions document is for the DIYBio mailing list. This FAQ is now split into multiple topics for easier reading.


FAQ Revision History

What is DIYbio, as an organization?

DIYbio is an organization that aims to help make biology a worthwhile pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists, and DIY biological engineers who value openness and safety. This will require mechanisms for amateurs to increase their knowledge and skills, access to a community of experts, the development of a code of ethics, responsible oversight, and leadership on issues that are unique to doing biology outside of traditional professional settings.

DIYbio is a distributed community of amateur or professional biologists, industry professional or amateur engineers, biomedical engineers, life scientists, computer scientists, etc. Our activities range across a broad spectrum, from molecular naturalism (sequencing part of your own genome or bacterial populations) to biological engineering to building low-cost, open-source alternative lab equipment (Gel Box 2.0) to writing open source software for biology, to creating open source hardware systems and manufacturing.

The DIYbio Community - Presented at Ignite Boston 5 (2009) from mac cowell on Vimeo.

What is DIYbio's mission?

Are we moving to a future where everyone performs a little genetic engineering?

Who is a "biohacker"?

How can I find out more and contribute?

Many ways! Here's a brief overview:

So far, we mainly communicate through the mailing list. There is also a lower volume DIYbio announce mailing list, which occassionally has announcements that the community might be interested in. Also, there are groups for:

You're welcome to subscribe to the mailing lists- in fact, we encourage it.

There are other forums:

What are the Guidelines for Posting to the DIYBio mailing lists and/or Forums?

As the DIYBio mailing list membership grows, it is more important to follow good guidelines for easier readability within discussions.


  • Follow proper quoting rules:
 One should reply using the standard technique:

    User C. wrote:
    > User B. wrote:
    > > User A. wrote:
    > > > blablabla
    > > blubberblubber
    > laberlaber 

For complete information see conventional netiquette.

    • When quoting another author, keep the attribution line ("On such-and-such-date, Jonathan Cline wrote:").
    • Delete portions of the paragraph which do not pertain to the new reply. This is known as "Trimming the post".
      • Replace deleted text with "[...]" if it changes the placement of words or sentences in a paragraph.
  • Trim all quoted text to be the minimum necessary to follow the discussion.
  • Add your message below any quoted text. This means "write your reply at the bottom".
    • Do not "top post". "Top posting" is when the reply is added above the quoted text. This is not as easy to read when there are many replies in a thread. For this reason, do not "top post", only add the reply at the bottom. Many mail programs have a setting to "reply at top" or "reply at bottom" -- always set it to "Reply at bottom" or manually perform this action yourself.
  • Change the 'Subject' of the email when the topic changes.

Where can I see an archive of previous DIYbio discussions and questions?

Right over here.

Some of our favorites ("member picks") include discussions on ..

Is there a group in my area?

There's probably a group nearby- maybe at least somebody somewhat interested in getting together for lunch or maybe sitting down over a bench and doing serious experiments- at any rate, you can find out about those near you by checking out the map below or

View a larger map, or to add yourself or your group to the map. You'll need to sign into your Google account in order to add a new point. Here's a screenshot of how to add a new point on the map.

You may also be interested in other local science groups around the world:

Are there any videos from regional groups?

DIYbio-NYC: Shot glass DNA extraction

DIYbio-SF: Tito's food coloring electrophoresis

DIYbio-boston: diybio visits the fablab

Has DIYbio been in the news?


What are some educational resources for DIYBio and Biology? What are all these terms and technologies DIYBio keeps discussing?

See DIYBio FAQ: Education & Resources

What equipment do I need to perform DIYBio-related projects?

See DIYBio FAQ: Equipment

What is open source hardware?

"Open Source Hardware is hardware that keeps its designs available in a way similar to the open source in software." There is no defacto license for open source hardware yet. Some websites (like ponoko, thingiverse, unptnt) put hardware CAD files under a "Creative Commons" license. However, it's still unknown how this is likely to interface with the legal systems around the world (i.e., patents). And it's not necessarily true that putting something directly into the public domain is the best way to go either. So, the future is presently unclear- in terms of legal issues.

DIYbio has many big supporters of standardized packaging formats (like .tar.gz, .deb, .tar, .rpm, etc.) for automatic downloading of hardware components and instructions on how to build the components. There are some sites that almost implement this (but not quite) such as instructables, ponoko, thingiverse, odesigns, unptnt, etc.

'Slashdot discussions

What Projects has DIYBio completed? What projects are DIYBio contributors working on now? Who is working on what? Who do I contact to offer to collaborate on a project?

This section to be compiled from many sources soon. Or you can start by adding your project here!

Appendix 1 - list of Synthetic Biology Companies

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