I think it's important that you guys, a letter comes from, what it actually is that you're doing, the things you're talking about doing, providing kits, for doing science, this idea of broadening the people that do this typeo f work and broadening the.. Mac, making us look bad, making an entrance.

The Wilson Center has a lot of pull with the commission, and we want to get a representative from the diybio community to testify in front of them, in addition to a letter that would be on the record. The next one might not be it. It could be potentially in the third one. The thing about these letters is that they want something specific in it, they want one thing that you could tell them what it is. This commission is sort of unusual. They used to have at least a year about it, and they are going to make recommendations for some sort of regulation or policy or fundamentals, or effect all of that, so whatever sort of thsi, it's a letter, ors omething else, you really have to define yourselves because you're going to be defined by other people.

You don't have to go into the details into what that plan might be, but you could suggest an incentive mechanism. They are going to have interns reading msot of the letters first, sort of as a screen, and move them up through the process. They will read all of them, and it will be listed in the federal register, which nobody reads, your submissions will be available on the bioethics.gov website. They do take them seriously, it's not something, it's not just a black hole. The issue about sort of, the difference between one a community, sort of sign off on it, not that everything would be agreed upon, betweent hat and sending in 25 to 100 individual letters, yuo lose some of those issues in the individual letters, a lot of time they see it's the same sort of idea in the one thing, they will lump those all into one submission, so you lose that. They cuold decide to take the most creative or most radical, they could choose the most creative one, or something.

Especially because of computer software that allows you to email 5000 people, and sends out a form letter, the way that they deal with that is they deal with the form letters and lump them as one submission, which has good and bad connotations. The idea though is to get sort of that one issue across to them, and define who you are, from the positive side. I guarantee that you are going to be defined by some other groups and it's not going to be in a positive light.

The three or four projects are going to be fine. That part of it, this is actually what we're doing, and the trajectory of what we want to do, this idea of the educational community. My first reaction to Todd's proposal that we write this letter, actually it was Bryan's reaction, was, in the room, it's too early, let's wait until we have something more to say. I wasn't sure if this was the time to get the act together, to pull before September 1st, why not ponder on this for another year, but he's convinced me, I think, in a compelling way, if we don't say something about ourselves, at least at the minimum level, say what we are, and the tangible what's being done, community labs, businesses, labs, and Woodrow Wilson Sloan project, safety issues, and sort of trying to work on that, and that's the extent of the letter. It would be really great if in 4 weeks we could do a full-blown plan. Their final report to the President is 6 months from.. so it will be December or January. So this idea of a plan that you have, what I would suggest, for something like that, is say that you are developing one, just so you know that you're thinking about those type of issues. You don't have to say what that is, outline it in a whitepaper format, and they might want to come back to you and ask if that sparks an interest.


What is the minimum amount in order to meet the deadline? This is how my brain works, rather than the maximum amount. We should define what DIYbio is and what are the things are accomplished. What do they want to hear, per Bryan's point? Well, probably safety. We're just now getting started on a small project to start thinking about what a plan might look like- and that's reflective of a state of being a small group, because we're doing it before it happens. A lot of people come to these things.

What have we accomplished? Right, so, ultimately, we could have a plan, that would be in the form of a whitepaper, in the letter we'd say, we are writing a white paper on DIYbio safety.

What have we accomplished? We have a brand. As a community. What are the celerebrated points? At least five kits that are in prototype and available. There's four labs. We should be realistic- tell them that there's just like 10 projects, it's not a huge thing. Cheap hardware being used by individuals and high schools, and community colleges. A vibrant online discussion place. Community labs. Biocurious isn't a wetspace yet. Genspace, BOSSlab, Seattle had one? There was a guy who has a lab, and they invited them in to do stuff. Instead of a lab, workshop, workspace, what about talking about the gruops that don't have spaces? Regional groups, relatively active, 12 or something. Within three or four public workspaces, which are run by those groups. And that's a pattern that scale for the other five. $20k of fundraising. Businesses, there have been businesses like Pearl Biotech LLC, OpenPCR or LLC or under an LLC, or not branding another company around it, it's a product just right now. If you focus on the legalese then...

Soemthing I heard about Rob Carlson, that was tremendous feedback when he spoke with the commission about biotech innovation. He has a lot of support, he was surprised, was he has a slide in his presentation which lists all of the small businesses that started in garages, and these were a list of products, like the zipper, everyone was wearing one in the room or something, and a list of the things that were completely common, and the importance of small business. Including the mention of small businesses. So, and something else to consider, would be referencing the security and biosecurity whitepaper. This was from Obama's president biosafety commission- there is a quote where it says almost verbatim, that garage biolabs are good. We want to support the makers of things. Jason is going to draft the letter.

This is my second brainstorming session around this, brainstorming in my experience, putting it up on a wiki, and expecting a letter to come out of it, so the best thing is to write a draft, and it's easier to do it that way. So here's the timeline. Have a draft by August 15th, and sooner would be better, but August 15th is like drop-dead deadline. Do we have to post-mark it? By pdf? By midnight of September.. so, August 15th is draft, 2-week or 10-day comment period, and then final draft, and then we have our own comments on our own letter. I hope we get a lot of comments. And then 10-day comment period, and it would be important to also have when this is posted on the listserver, have a preamble talking about all the things about Todd, and we can't assume anyone knows even why we should write a letter, or why we should come up with one generic letter, so that people mostly agree with it, rather than a thousand one-off, and that speaks to the experience on how this works, then it's not up to them for whcih one they want to bring out there.

So that's a preamble. A ten day comment period, then assemble a final draft and submit. And then the other thing is, whether we want to talk at a high level about why we think DIYbio is a positive difference, talking practically about what we've done, 2 years old, 2000 people who are semi-active.

Hugh, mydaughtersgenome

it's retroactive applying DIYbio

bioart, that's DIYbio

anything outside of an institution we get credit for

Hugh Rheinhoff, theres going to be a merging of Quantified Self and DIYbio, and when people realyl start getting into plucking their fingers, it's going to get much more into DIYbio, we should ask this guy abuot uric acid level. Derek Jay. He's on our group quite abit, and he has Gout, he has all this pain in his foot, chopping off his feet and hands adn things. So he's trying to reduce this disease, and it has to do with uric acid in the blood. So you should reduce the diet- don't eat red meat, replace with beans and veggies. He wanted to know the concentration of uric acid in his blood, so he found a sensor from Singapore, it's a microfluidic device, so he's doing his own uric acid quantification, and the recommendation from his doctor has increased his uric acid, and lentil makes a spike. So he's been doing this combinatorial food dietary regime, to figure out what's the optimal diet. It's pretty neat.

Quantified Self meetup


About a high-level, and this is just, these are actually points that Mac talks about, I think we could adopt them, tweak them, which is the first one is- why is DIYbio important? It's a cultural interface to biology. Show how there has been a positive effect on people's lives already. It's an interface to the public at large. It's convoluted no matter how I say, people are afraid of DNA, and that's dumb. Traditional science outraech isn't working right now, and DIYbio can fill in that gap. DIYbio is important is because our culture is afraid of biotech, and we need to get over our fears, and DIYbio will help distribute good understanding of biology throughout society. Two, it inspires people to become biologists, not just become amateurs but also professionals, because it lowers the barriers. And thirdly it's a driving force to invent new tools, and they are categorically different than what existing science is based on. The Spikerbox is a good example. The arduino, my whole schtick about it, it took outsiders to do it. New tools, new human capital for biotech, new cultural interfaces. How do we summarize that? Innovation, citizen science, public interface, STEM buzzword, the American Competes Act is about STEM, to get more people involved in sci/tech and math education, to get them involved in those issues. Nano still-- DIYbio stands for STEM. And the other thing too is that, while the first sort of, the first hearing didn't really focus on ethics, they are going to start focusing on ethics. The first hearing sort of gave a bad impression on what they were supposed to do, it was an introduction to the members what synthetic biology actually is, so I imagine this next hearing is going to have a lot more ethical issues about what those concerns are. Some of the feedback was that the members wanted more religious leaders to bring them in, and what their concerns are. the one person that spoke on it kind of brushed it off, and it's not really true that they don't have concerns. You don't have to address the ethical issues. The safety and so on falls under that, you don't have to get into meaning life.

How many things can we emphasize? Come up with one sort of real concrete recommendation. They made a point about this- they want one thing that you can tell them that they will do. Buy our kits. So you start with that, whatever it is that we come up with, maybe it's one or two things, and then sort of go into the other things after that, so that you get that part out there so that they have read at least that stuff, and then introduce what you've done, and then go into the details of the other things.

So, well, let's do it a different way, what- what would be, anybody have ideas for what, Presidential Commission, looking for action items, are there particular resources that you wuold want government to make available, one thing to ask for. There are some things that you want them to not do, which is important as well. Or maybe there's something that you think they will come down on.. "please don't shut us down". And then you can go into, and because we're looking at the safety issues, because we're in contact with the FBI...

innovation incentives, for an ethics commission?

Garage biology, innovation, small businesses, it's the ethics of innovation. I would like to see the endorsement by the commission of garage biology, maybe targeted towards high schools, and ti would be great if the rest of the government could support it. Soemthing that's like, dear president's bioethics commission, would you please assess the tradition of innovation in America's history, and what do you think the role of garage biology would be in the 21st century? You could source frmo the Institute for the Future on the BodyHack competition.

They would only be interested in addressing some policy/ethical sisue. One thing might be to ask a question of them. Is there- what is the tradition of American innovation, and what will be the trajectory of biotech in the next century?

I'll send around to the Office and Science and Technology Policy, they had a "please tell us your ideas", they had a ccall from the president on what they should look out for emergent technology, because I like this idea that we can link that to that as well, that helps us, it's linking a lot of proejcts that the white house likes into one sort of thing as well, and that's positive. So what is it that the Office of Science and Technology Policy. They put out a request asking, what sort of innovations and in science and tech, and .. that was just sort of a call, because the president tasked them for looking into innovation and how to make America innovative again, so they said please tell us the ideas.

So I want the commission to figure out hwo to overcome the challenges- and we want them to do it for us. Help us build a culture of biotechnology innovation. Reference Rob's slide, reference the security commission, reference Obama's inaugural commission. Framework or culture of garage biotech innovation. But when you say help us, then it just means that they, I am imagining that they are going to write this big report, the action item I'd like to see is something that endorses garage biotech innovation. They are going to make recommendations. If you look at the 9/11 commission, it was volumes. What's the scope? They are going to sort of be policy recommendations, things that the government that should be doing to address the concerns that they found through this.. they could say that the EPA monitors all garage innovation, it's not ethical, but they might say it. This is the issue, we recommend that the government and the office of the whitehouse create a new presidential thing, that analyzes the religious aspects of synthetic biology. It will be things like that. Congress and the Whitehouse will say FU or we're going to do it. There's no authority, they are just recommendations. Most of them never get implemented, the 9/11 recommendations never got implemented (mostly) but sometimes they do, so it's always better to air on the side of let's get involved in case they do implement the recommendations so you get on the positive side. It's beyond just endorsing garage biotech. This idea of enabling this culture of this, is sort of, a positive culture of biotech innovation. I would steer away from I would want this X amount of money. They are going to screw it up. It's enabling innovation in America, figuring out ways where we go from being a fringey thing where we're scared to talk about, which is why Todd and Dave approached me, the only groups who have taken interest in DIYbio, and having a close relationship with law enforcement now is that- community labs or anything like that, is it legal for me to share this with anyone else, can I do this or do that, and there's all sorts of legalities that nobody knows? If you have Ed showing up to your garage lab, it's his job to enforce the law, and he knows it a lot better than we do, and it's bad if the only person who's interested in this are the people who can put us in jail.

being supportive of innovation outside of traditional settings, part of that is that we need to build that framework.

If I am Big Pharma, or if I am an NGO that doesn't want synthetic biology, my campaign is going to how to get my bang for the dollar as far as getting to policy and so on, and DIYbio is an easy target. That's scary, they have an incentive to do that. It's easy to deflect that. DIYbio got brought up numerous times, and that's good and bad, but it's more on the bad stuff. Framing an issue is someo f the work that we have to do in the coming years. So that's why we need the support of the commission (because Big Pharma and so on has an incentive to stomp us out).

The public hates the term already- synthetic chemicals, they hate that. And then you tack on DIYbio to synthetic biology, and it's in this area where people are like wait a minute, so the other side of this is here we are, we are making yogurt or whatever, or teaching people in science, we're not creating new strains of the ebola virus, or whatever it is that peopel go to in these far out side of things, it's also the reasoning behind this.

What's the otucome of the poll in synthetic biology? They tried to use constructive biology. I think most people knew that the name is bad. But when we did our focus group, we were actually a little surprised, we thought that people go to thep layign god model, but they went to the synthetic portion. They don't like synthetic, chemicals, cancers, and it was sort of this weird thing that none of us thought they would go towards, and then you start bringing up the applications, you can ratchet that down, and biofuels and things like that, but the words matter especially when you don't have time to sit people down and explain what it is in detail. It's already out there, so trying to define it is counter-productive, it's more important to say what you guys do.

Organic chemistry was originally called synthetic chemistry, and it was about synthesizing organic compounds. Eventually ebcause they were focused on organic compounds, organic chemistry stuck. They didn't have the techniques for inorganic compounds so that's why they didn't think of that.. there were certain chemistry that.. only intrinsic things that you have, and then someone said yeah you can create it.

Nature had a publication that said that DIYbio is dead. But the public doesn't read it. They don't erad much, and the other problem is that most of the major newspapers have gotten rid of their science editors, the science sort of, that hey are reading, is sort of sporadic, and it's usually bad, and it's not accurate, so you have to take that into account. If you get one bad story in a major publication that people read about, it gets picked up by the wire services, then random blogs pick out random pieces, and it snowballs into these issues. Europe has a different slant on how they report on synthetic biology than the US does.

As far as names go, we've used non-institutional biology, that was liked. Garage biotech. For defining DIYbio, the word, the citizen science is pretty psoitive, because it takes- the biology, it's sort of sometimes an issue, they talk about living thinsg, but this idea of citizen science. bioblitz