Microbial Design Studio – Machine to design, culture, and test genetically modified organisms

Created by Biorealize (Mike Hogan, Karen Hogan and Orkan Telhan), Microbial Design Studio is a countertop biofabrication machine that brings together the capabilities of a biology wetlab into a single inexpensive piece of hardware to design, culture, and test genetically modified organisms. The project seeks to introduce a wider audience to the debates surrounding biological design and genetically redesigned products.

The team behind the project see this technology both as enabler and also a critique of existing practices of transgenic design. The platform intends to engage more people with genetic manipulation safely while giving them a chance to develop an informed position about the ethics of manipulating living organisms. The technology not only lowers the barriers of entry for learning about genetic manipulation, but also allows users to create culturally meaningful designs that extend beyond making glowing bacteria. They believe that the ability to engage directly with the design of transgenic products - in domains of food, medicine, or new materials - brings more awareness and responsibility to the users as they can relate to their potential implications in their daily lives.

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