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ABOUT FIB
This netcast explores the rapidly changing world of biotech, with a penchant towards getting a better understanding of who we are and where we are going. The living world will soon be a true substrate for engineering. Our world will change, and so will we. 
We bring a first hand account from the scientists that are moving us into this new technological era: the era of biotech. 

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    « FiB Episode 002 - The Genetics of Youth with Dr. Leonard Guarente. | Main | FiB Episode 001 - Protein Folding: At the Crossroads of Evolution, Disease, and Nanotechnology with Susan Lindquist »

    FiB listener has an excellent point

    Everyone big on biotech - it will never happen
    Submitted by klynchk on 16 June, 2006 - 4:05pm.

    Great podcast - really loved it - I want to know about this stuff. especially as some of the most important questions for society will come from this arena.

    However I don't think Biotech is the next big thing in tech because the cost of entry to access the equipment is so phenomenal, whereas anyone can access a PC and create content I know you could say that about computers in 1976 but we always knew that they'd become mass market. What would I want a gene sequencer for in my house. Why and how would I breed fruit flies? on the other hand the day I saw a modem the size of a filing cabinet - I knew I would have one - just can't say the same for biotech.

    In response:

    You are right, and though the same thing goes for space exploration...
    Submitted by Marc Pelletier on 17 June, 2006 - 12:00pm.

    They are nonetheless REALLY cool. Generally it costs around 50 - 100k$/year to putter in biotech, whereas you can find an old pentium III at a tag sale, install linux and a ton of open source software, and create the next Skype. So you are definitely right on that...

    But...

    Science is interesting in a different way. It continuously pushes the limitations of humankind back and gives us a better perspective on our existence: our place in the universe and how this universe works - sound preachy? Maybe, but think about what must have gone through James Watson's mind when he first saw the structure of DNA. He and Francis Crick, for a few hours, understood the human existence and life on earth better than anyone. This seems pretty cool to me. I want to be there when the frontier moves forward, and possibly take a few people along for the ride.

    Now that I am done preaching, anyone can explore the human genome and download bioinformatic tools for free. The human genome is OPEN SOURCE!

    Many genomes and some cool tools are available here:
    NCBI

    for mac users: more free stuff:
    CLCfreeworkbench
    Geneious

    Have fun data mining!

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    • Response
      Life of the students in Asian countries is very much difficult because they have to face many things. Like the law is not present in the Asian countries. The implementation of law is a dream there.

    Reader Comments (10)

    If cost of entry defines the next big thing in science....How is it people are using computers?

    Think back 50 years!

    June 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBasilTheCat

    If you are trying to compare the cost of entry, then you are sadly mistaken. You can't compare the cost of where biotech is today with the cost of writing software. Where did your processor come from? Did you stamp it yourself? Did you make your own RAM chips? This is the state of Biotech. The fruits of Biotech is what we will reap years down the road, just as you are reaping the fruits of Computer tech right now. The cost for IBM or whoever to make the first processor was astronomical for that time period, but the fruits are seen everyday in more and more homes and are much more cost effective due to modern technology.

    June 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMrWags3

    Biotech definitely has a future. Where it will take us, well no one can really be sure. But the applications that it may have in the future may revolutionise how we live. You never know, for some reason we might all have gene sequencers in our houses. Just think of Gattaca and all the things they did in that, including sampling everyone's blood to get into the building. I guess that was sequencing their DNA.

    Not to say for some things we are thinking of them as people once thought of the Jetsons, but Technology will progress as fast as the amount of effort and money we put into it.

    June 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

    Here's a thought, supposing hacking biological viruses became as easy and cheap to do at home as hacking computer viruses...

    June 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChris

    How amazing would it be if there was a biotech revolution like the computer revolution. Unfortunately biotechnology is expensive but who knows what the future holds. Some new chip or new design could revolutionise the industry and make things much cheaper. Also since the special guest on the show was a woman I think it should be noted that Watson and Crick do owe some credit to Rosalind Franklin.

    June 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

    FiB is a Great show! Thanks!

    Point well taken - but I have heard lots of people say they'd like to have a bathtub gene splicer or a home gene sequencer or be able to buy a turn key bio lab kit from eBay.

    Maybe I should find a different crowd to run in but I dare say that if a kit that allowed one to do serious bio-engineering work could be offered for $10,000 or less there surely would be a slew of takers! I might even have to have one.

    June 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMrroon

    FiB is a Great show! Thanks!

    Point well taken - but I have heard lots of people say they'd like to have a bathtub gene splicer or a home gene sequencer or be able to buy a turn key bio lab kit from eBay.

    Maybe I should find a different crowd to run in but I dare say that if a kit that allowed one to do serious bio-engineering work could be offered for $10,000 or less there surely would be a slew of takers! I might even have to have one.

    June 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMrroon

    I agree that biotech is going to explode into our lives in a big way. You cannot compare the entry level of biotech today with the entry level of entering the mature IT industry today.

    When biotech matures, people will take Susan Lindquist's work for granted in the same way that Alan Turing's work is taken for granted today.

    July 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermightydread

    I agree that biotech is going to explode into our lives in a big way. You cannot compare the entry level of biotech today with the entry level of entering the mature IT industry today.

    When biotech matures, people will take Susan Lindquist's work for granted in the same way that Alan Turing's work is taken for granted today.

    July 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermightydread

    Check this out.. do it at home biotech!

    http://xdesign.ucsd.edu/biotechhobbyist/index.html

    Plus check out the laboratory equipment on ebay. DNA synthesizers, PCR machines, and etc for just a few grand.

    The cost of entry into the biotech industry is actually more affordable than for many other industries.

    July 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBen

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