In an era when organisms can be constructed from DNA and the enthusiastic Do-It-Yourself-er can buy, on eBay, equipment to change an organism's genetic structure, we face some difficult questions. Biologist Drew Endy describes three major issues: how to develop biological systems when the basic building blocks have been patented, how to assure the quality of constructed DNA code and how to establish rights to reuse and reengineer new genetic products. He sees a solution in an open-source approach to DNA whereby, just as with open-source software, everyone benefits from sharing information.
Professor Endy covers, in an entertaining way, the issues facing biological engineers and explains what he is doing to promote solutions.
Drew Endy studied civil, environmental, and biochemical engineering at Lehigh University and Thayer School, Dartmouth College. From 1998 through 2001 he helped to start the Molecular Sciences Institute, an independent not-for-profit biological research lab in Berkeley, CA. In 2002, he started a group as a fellow in the Department of Biology and the Biological Engineering Division at MIT; he joined the MIT faculty in 2004. Endy co-founded the MIT Synthetic Biology working group and the Registry of Standard Biological Parts, and organized the First International Conference on Synthetic Biology. Endy and colleagues taught the 2003 and 2004 MIT Synthetic Biology labs and organized the 2004 Synthetic Biology competition, a five-school course that enabled students to work together to design and build engineered biological systems. Endy's research focuses on the engineering of many-component integrated biological systems and the design of reproducing machines.
This free podcast is from our Open Source Conference series.