Friday, January 21, 2011

Centralized synthetic biology for the community

Build a "fun" framework that would attract lots of young minds to ask interesting questions, engineer biological cells to answer those questions, and easily share their results and explanations with each other.

1. providing the education to the masses... but I have some hope that young people are quite good are educating themselves, given the motivation
2. Resource
3. Safety

Possible solution:
One or two well maintained centralized robots with a fun interface for entering experiments and storing/visualizing the results. This is very much possible, except that it is expensive. But if the benefit is large enough, it is possible that government and/or companies might solve that issue.

But if such a programmable robot existed as a resource, I can imagine numerous researchers wanting to try new experiments and test new hypotheses. Since the data is centralized, there is a built-in benefit of data-integration, i.e. finding relationships between multiple experiments and drawing conclusions based on large number of experiments. It would be like a Facebook for biological experiments: everyone wants to dump their favorite hypothesis on it.

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