Would you enjoy reprogramming lab bacteria with DNA from a jellyfish to make them glow green? How about hacking your own genetic data to find out what percentage of the Neanderthal genome you share? Or building a device that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen?
If so, maybe you should consider joining the DIY garage biology movement.
Educational institutions, governments, and big businesses dominate biological research. But plummeting technology costs let entrepreneurs and hobbyists design do-it-yourself tools for biological engineering at a fraction of previous prices.
Aspiring biologists can also get access to lab equipment outside university and government labs. Neighborhood labs are open to everyone and can bring together communities of like-minded citizen scientists. Like community tech shops (where one might share the use of large and expensive technology used in metal machining or wood work), these new science spaces are popping up more frequently.
If you’re curious about biology, you can join a newly formed organization called BioCurious in California’s Bay Area. BioCurious, started as an online community, recently opened a new biotech hackerspace and community lab where those interested can come together to learn and share ideas. Anyone can become a member.