"a synthetic biologist"
Call me old-fashioned but I prefer the genuine article.
Beware, 3D printers. Self-assembling bacteria are coming for your jobs. Specially designed bacteria can organise themselves to make a three-dimensional pressure sensor, new research shows. Scientists are engineering these critters in order to some day help more cheaply and efficiently manufacture materials that can perform …
"I mean, why shouldn't they?"
Humanity has an uncanny knack of inventing cool things, and letting it run away from itself because it can't control it.
We split the atom, which is an amazing thing. But when it goes wrong, our best solution to the problem of something we created is to stick it in a barrel and bury it for 30 years, then dig it back up, recontain it, and dig it somewhere else for another 30 years.
Thats just one example.
It's what curious monkeys do.
No-one died as a result of Rocket going so fast ladies were advised not to travel.
We got trains, mostly they have been good.
Without messing about with atoms we'd be in a right sorry state.
I'd suggest that the invention of air-conditioning has screwed up over more than nuclear.
All they do is create more heat . .
Mine loved it to bits. We still have the green stained skeletal prep of the chick embryo she manipulated so that it grew a mirror image wing tip. It sits in a glass vial in glycerol (the optical density means the other tissues of the chick embryo are transparent).
It was all done properly, I filled out a risk assessment and everything. A kind fellow Kiwi colleague took her to do the embryo surgery. I don't remember exactly but it is entirely possible there were genetically transformed bacteria on the open benchtop while she was there. See my post above on that.
I suggest you Google The Asilomar Conference. We have crippled and tamed and corralled bacteria so that they are entirely safe to use on the open benchtop. I have done so many, many times then gone home to my wife and kids. These are E. coli bacteria from our guts but they cannot survive there. They cannot survive without our specially formulated growth media.
The bacteria used for this sort of stuff are really, really crippled, stripped down genomes so they can be added to and manipulated.
As a Biomedical scientist I have absolutely and utterly NO fears about this work. None at all.
Ah, how I love the smell of coli in the morning!
>The phrase "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should" is obviously lost on these scientists.
"Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow."
— Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein
Most notably with biobricks
This technology is not confined to a laboratory.
They are not the first bacteria to mfg objects. Sandstone, for example is made by bacteria.
But 30 years after KE Drexlers "Engines of Creation" it's a bit disappointing this is viewed as impressive (which it is).
'"We do believe biofabrication is cheaper and requires less energy" than other approaches.'
Sure. And it makes parts that are less reliable, and less robust, than other manufacturing methods. What's more, there are literally quintillions of things wandering around the Earth which want to eat bio-fabricated parts, and very few at all that want to eat parts made of metal or silicon.
This is all really nifty, but I don't want to rely on a machine which includes parts which themselves consist of a bunch of prokaryotes pretending to be sensors, memory or whatever.
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