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The terms biohacking and wetware hacking emphasize the connection to hacker culture and the hacker ethic. The term hacker is used in the original sense of finding new and clever ways to do things. The terms are used to refer to several things, for OLGA the following one is important: Do-it-yourself biology, biotechnological social movement in which individuals and small organizations study biology using the same methods as traditional research institutions. DIY biology is primarily undertaken by individuals with extensive research training from academia or corporations, who then mentor and oversee other DIY biologists with little or no formal training. This may be done as a hobby, as a not-for-profit endeavor for community learning and open-science innovation, or for profit, to start a business. [Abgeändert von Wiki] Bisher ist keine eindeutige Definition von Biohacking möglich, da einzelne Vertreter dieser sozialen Bewegung ihre eigene Form von Biohacking betreiben.

So haben auch wir uns überlegt, was Biohacking für uns bedeutet und welchen Weg wir einschlagen wollen und haben eine gute Definition für “unser Biohacking” gefunden:
„Biohacking ist eine selbstständige und motivierte Partizipation in Naturwissenschaften, Gentechnik und Forschung außerhalb Universitäten und Industrie“.

Für eine ausführlichere Beschreibung dahin haben wir einen Abstract verfasst:

Poster über die Grazer Biohacking Community an der STS Conference 2019 (Science, Technology & Society Studies), präsentiert von Daniel Derndorfer.

Code of Ethics

Es gibt auch von der DIYbio Community einen Entwurf eines international gültigen Code of Ethics:

Variety of activities to do as a biohacker

As an example, how to build up a biological laboratory without big financial resources, only with that what you have at home or get very cheap?

After the first bureaucratic obstacles and finding a place to build in a laboratory the foundation of a biolab is like a long term project. the more people helping out the better and having more people access to the laboratory it is called a community lab.

Gathering stuff together, which can be used in a lab. A pressure cooker, works fine for sterilizing with heat and pressure. Take a microwave and an electrical cooking plate for heating up liquids. Also a Bunsen burner is available at a construction market, there you also get rubbing alcohol for cleaning and disinfection of the working space. Use Grandmas heat-stable jam jars as substitution for lab glassware like beakers. And a classic in biohacking, use a rich soup together with a thickening agent and you get a complex nutrient medium for bacterial cultivation.

How about crafting your own equipment? By understanding how typical lab equipment and machines are working you can assemble required components, programming the software for function and put them all together. There are lots of DIY manuals and instructions available to manage that (here shines the idea of open access and sharing information).

A very useful strategy is to get your lab materials second hand, from other laboratories and institutions, who would get rid of old machines or glassware. Saving lab material, which would work fine, but is just old, from garbage disposal helps both sides because of less waste disposal costs for the institution and the biohackers get some new stuff, worth of more than hundreds of euros. Getting in touch with the laboratories and a friendly conversation could do you the favor.

After assembling everything needed to do some work in a lab biohacking becomes more and more oriented towards practical use, working with liquids and biological material inside the lab, doing research or for fun. People learn auto didactically how biological systems work, how to use tools and methods, acquire practical skills and start to think of their own actions in the lab, design their own experiments they are interested in and maybe come up with problem solving projects. Working with chemicals and liquids, biological material like bacteria, cells or genetic information, require of course safety standards (coming from the national laws and international ethical debates). For responsible biohacking they have to be able to think and reflect their own work, to make sure that no one is in danger during biohacking.

Biohacking can also play a big role outside of the laboratory. By understanding and changing the codes of genomic information the connection to software programmers and hackers is strong when dealing with bioinformatics. As pre-task before the transformation and mutation of DNA inside the lab biohacking involves the hacking process of genetic information and change it, whether it is just to look what’s happening or for specific results. This process requires a lot of information about molecular biology, but online tools and accessible software help to begin with.

Biohacking also stands for an open access to information and the exchange of knowledge. So it is reasonable that some biohack spaces offers workshops or other events (open evening for visitors, biohack academies, project meetings or discussion evening on critical topics for a public audience). Depending on how the biohack space is financial backed up the workshops can come with a participation and entrance fee, voluntary donation or free of charge. The biohack community lack the pedagogical background, but try to help rising the educational level.

What is NOT Biohacking for us

When talking about “biohacking” it gets often a little bit confusing. The common understanding of that term is quite divers and several varieties have developed in the last years. Answers from google search queries varies between a healthy, fitness trend, some kind of citizen science, a lifestyle of self-optimization like cyborgs or garage labs with uncertain safety issues or criminal intensions. We accept different opinions on that, but want to make sure that we are not meaning any of that.

Taken out of the presentation "Biohacking as possible playground for genome editing" from Caroline Pöchlauer and Daniel Derndorfer, 18th Annual STS Conference Graz, 6-7 May 2019

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