Have you heard of biobricks? They're the answer--or at least an answer--to the accusation made here at Science 2.0 and elsewhere that:
. . . there is one area where physics has the life sciences beat: sharing. . . . Genomes have been placed into the public domain, but that was by government mandate, and the NIH requires its funded studies to be available to all, also government mandate, but as far as individual efforts to be more open, the life sciences are a lot more resistant than others unless they are told they must do it.I totally agree that biology is behind the times when it comes to open access pre-print servers like arXiv--but then, physics doesn't have anything like The BioBricks Foundation:
We are dedicated to advancing synthetic biology to benefit all people and the planet. To achieve this, we must make engineering biology easier, safer, equitable, and more open. We do this in the following ways: by ensuring that the fundamental building blocks of synthetic biology are freely available for open innovation; by creating community, common values and shared standards; and by promoting biotechnology for all constructive interests.Sure, it sounds pretty, but what are people actually accomplishing with these biobricks? And why am I writing about it on a squid blog? Well, check out this cool video from the BBC!
"You're very very casual about this, but we've gone from a squid in a restaurant that can change color, to getting that synthesized in a cell factory via the internet, onto a plate that can change color when I breathe on it."
"In a summer."
"It's almost annoying to hear you say that, because the prospect of me doing that five years ago or ten years ago in the lab would have taken hundreds of thousands of pounds, and years."