Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Open Source GE

Here's a quick video on Fora.tv (sort of like Ted) where Michael Pollan makes a good point against genetically engineered crops. It's not about health or even the environment, it's about intellectual property being used to own the crops on which we all depend. He calls for open source genetic engineering. I don't know if the open source concept really works well for biotech. It's cheap for an individual to sit down and make some code for an open source project and therefore these things can be accomplished as a hobby. Biotech is expensive, and the only way labs are going to work on a genetically engineered crop is if there is a patent on the horizon. Here are some arguements that the comparison of open source software and biotech is valid.


Bayman said...

It would work if biotech development could be de-centralized, to a larger number of interacting participants, which it what makes open-source possible in the case of software. I guess the limiting factor becomes the minimal required infrastructure at any given site...still quite expensive...whereas coding simply requires a terminal.

But maybe there are creative ways to reduce and/or partition infrastructure/equipment costs...

What we are waiting for is the PC of biotech...one cheap machine that does it all.