What happens when amateur scientists doing synthetic biology as DiY projects, building new organisms and modifying old ones? A group of scientists raised the alarm about the risks of backyard synbio in Nature recently, and it's the topic of a lively discussion on the Guardian's Science Weekly podcast. Check it out!
It's always a balancing act between encouraging scientific research and discouraging amateur enthusiasts from making DIY smallpox. Somehow the balancing act has held when it comes to chemical weapons (you can make several kinds of poison gas from household cleaning agents, but no one ever does), so hopefully the same will be true when the ability to manufacture new organisms trickles down to ordinary people.