Activity: Talk or presentation / Performance / Speeches › Talk or presentation - at conference › Academic
Do-it-yourself (DIY) biology practitioners have in the past decade become increasingly involved in the biotechnosciences. This involvement is seen both in public discussions, and through hands-on use of biotechnologies to modify living organisms, from bacteria in petri dishes to their own bodies. In the case of the new technology of CRISPR gene editing, DIY biology has been involved since the birth of the technology in 2012-13. The first DIY human gene editing experiment was performed in October 2017, when Josiah Zayner, CEO of a company distributing DIY gene editing kits, injected himself with a gene editing plasmid that could, if it worked, give him bigger muscles. In February 2018, following a stunt by the CEO of another biohacker-based company, Ascendance Bio, Zayner publicly regretted his actions and expressed his concern that somebody would get hurt, given the ways experiments were being undertaken. The paper examined and critically engaged with the increasingly disjointed discourses of biohackers on the topic of gene editing and self-experimentation, especially focused on their treatment of various ethical issues of such experiments.