- May 2018
Biohackers will soon be able to forgo these companies altogether with an all-in-one desktop genome printer: a device much like an inkjet printer that employs the letters AGTC — genetic base pairs — instead of the color model CMYK.A similar device already exists for institutional labs, called BioXp 3200, which sells for about $65,000. But at-home biohackers can start with DNA Playground from Amino Labs, an Easy Bake genetic oven that costs less than an iPad, or The Odin’s Crispr gene-editing kit for $159.
The BioXP does not have the DNA synthesis functionality mentioned in the former paragraph as a workaround for buying fragments of DNA. Instead this system seems to assemble smaller synthesized sequences into larger ones. Neither the DNA playground nor the CRISPR gene editing kit allow the automated construction of DNA and also do not have the ability to synthesize DNA from a digital sequence.
“It’s going to be a matter of time before someone resynthesizes smallpox,” Mr. Gandall said.
There are many reasons as to why a tube could be labelled "do not use". It could be that this was a primer that was incorrectly ordered. It could be that upon later validation this reagent it did not meet the criteria required to continue to the next stage of experimentation. It could be that it is suspected that this tube contains some chemical which disturbed a downstream process. All these reasons are quite innocuous. It reveals the eye of the photographer who is presumably curious as to this seeming contradiction in meaning: a carefully curated scientific sample labelled into uselessness.
However, I feel that this quote juxtaposed against this innocuous image ignites the imagination down more sinister paths. Now the shaky hand which drew this label is more intimidating and the questions evoked in the mind concern dangerous side experiments. It works with the tone of this piece to caution the public, but I lament sense of wonder in which the picture without the caption evokes.