August 15, 2013 AT 2:17 pm

The Kickstarter Fight Over Genetically Modified Plants – “Projects cannot offer genetically modified organisms as a reward.”

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The Kickstarter Fight Over Genetically Modified Plants – TIME.

But the hysteria had the desired effect. It blew up Kickstarter’s modus vivendi. Although the company, which takes a 5% revenue cut, let the glowing-plant project proceed, its management has quietly slipped a new no-no into its ever-growing list of prohibitions: “Projects cannot offer genetically modified organisms as a reward.” In the company’s only public comments on the controversy, in an interview with The Verge website, co-founder Yancey Strickler suggested that the change is modest, because it limits only rewards, not projects themselves. But everyone knows that rewards are crucial to success. People don’t want T-shirts of glowing plants. They want glowing plants.

Some one is/is not getting a biohacking badge.


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3 Comments

  1. Just offer a certificate as a reward. A certificate that happens to be redeemable for a glowing plant. ;)

  2. Oh no, totally undermines that glowing plant project

  3. I think the article draws a false boundary between artist and technologist. Kickstarter’s decision should not offend all technologists, nor should one expect it to make all artists happy. Only those who wanted to see more projects based on synthetic / modified biology are effected by this change, and I imagine that many who would consider themselves more artist than technologist would fall in that category. As such, I object to the us-vs-them tone of the article.

    Now, someone with a background in synthetic biology needs to team up with someone with a background in ecology and someone with an appropriate legal background to start a crowd-funding site with the tools needed to help future synthetic biology projects pass regulatory hurdles and ensure that their newly created species are as harmless as possible. I imagine that more of the general public would be comfortable with projects coming out of such a site, as well.

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