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 Greetings from a newcomer 
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:19 pm
Posts: 2
Post Greetings from a newcomer
Hello. I am a University of California genetics undergrad. Right now I work in a drosophila research lab. We are thinking of startin an iGEM team this summer too.

I love what you guys are doing, and I hope to be part of this growing culture as well. Im curious as to any other information on how you guys do projects, resources and fun DIY stuff, and any supplementation would be appreciated. I'm also curious as to the average age of users here, as well as what the average level of scientific knowledge is.

I was shocked, and even slightly depressed, when I learned that the biotechnology scene is dominated by ruthless companies like Monsanto. Knowing a culture of like minded individuals exists (and is growing fast) makes me feel much better about the possible futures of science. Hope to have some good discussions here, keep the movement going.


Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:28 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:34 pm
Posts: 60
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
This is a bit off-topic, but why the hell does everyone hate Monsanto? They're ok, for a major corporation.

I mean, Roundup Ready was freaking stupid, but they've done good stuff too. What about Golden Rice?


Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:56 am
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:19 pm
Posts: 2
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
They are the archetypal evil mega corporation. My uncle worked therefor 20 years, and when I talk about biology news with him (he is a botonist/farmer) he gives me the scoop on what they are up to. Essentially, they decided that Monsanto is going to be focused on bio-engineering crops. They currently have a monopoly on the industry now, and they keep sucking up smaller companies into their hull.

Firstly, they patent the use of genes. This stands against everything I perceive the open source movement to be about. How can a corporation patent sequences of nucleic acids that nature created? If anybody clones their genetic plants without permission, or attempts to create their own transgenic plants containing the genes they patented (as I imagine many DIY biologists will be able to do in the very near future), they sue that person for everything and then, in a most insidious manner, donate the money to scholarships. My uncle explained that they donate the money to scholarships for the explicit purpose of giving themselves a better image to young scientists like myself - their greatest enemy. They also employ terminator genes - transgenic crops designed to be sterile after the first harvest. They sell these plants to developing countries that rely on using the seeds of their harvest for their next crop (most american farmers use hybrid seeds so this doesn't affect them) so that , after every harvest, they have to buy new seeds from guess who? Monsanto.

Their entire business plan is essentially a manual on how business and greed choke scientific progress for the betterment of humanity. Do a little research, see the company from a different perspective than an American consumer. What if you had a cancerous tumor, with no hope for a cure. Then imagine if a biomedical research company (the executives of these companies and companies like Monsanto were probably all buddies at Ivy Leagues and, thus, have a similar mentality) patented a process they found involving using gene therapy to target cancer cells in a tumor for apoptosis. Then imagine how much money they would charge for this procedure. Then imagine how much money this would cost if the technology was discovered in some guys garage or, better yet, by kids at iGEM? Now imagine if companies did this for genes involving Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, diabetes, schizophrenia and all the horrible genetic diseases in the book.

Phew... sorry for my rant. Just wanted to spread the word, most people aren't aware of what these kinds of companies do.


Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:46 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:34 pm
Posts: 60
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
Yes, but that's how all major biotech companies act. (As a side note, it'd be much, much harder for them to get clearance to sell their crops if they weren't sterile. If they can reproduce, the environmental risks go way up.) They look the baddest because they're the biggest; they're not really any worse than normal. Just the most visible.

Also, I'm not an American consumer; I'm an Australian biotechnologist (not associated with Monsanto in any way, though).


Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:52 am
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:51 pm
Posts: 25
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
clouded_perception wrote:
What about Golden Rice?

I bet it wasn't Monsantos idea to licence it for free...

clouded_perception wrote:
They're ok, for a major corporation.

No they're not. They are bullying smaller farmers who aren't co-operating with them. Besides Monsanto is trying to get a monopoly in food production, which is basically a corner stone of human basic security, which would in the end make us slaves to the corporation.

I understand biotech patents are a necessity for the field, but they are also a two edged sword. On the one hand you wouldn't get any companies in the field if you had no patents, but on the other hand patenting something like genes (should be US patent nr. 5693473 BRCA1) or abusing certain patents like Monsanto can be considered quite unethical.

Anyhow, my point is that Monsantos biggest problem is their twisted policies.
I do believe though that biotech is the answer to future food production, but I don't believe it should be done as it is done now. It needs more open source.


Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:13 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:34 pm
Posts: 60
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
ATG wrote:
Anyhow, my point is that Monsantos biggest problem is their twisted policies.
I do believe though that biotech is the answer to future food production, but I don't believe it should be done as it is done now. It needs more open source.


The problem with open source biotech is that biotech is very pricey. Researchers and engineers who can't protect enough intellectual property to mitigate the risks involved and get a good return for their investors don't get enough money to survive.


Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:01 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:34 am
Posts: 1
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
topic says "Greetings from a newcomer" so thus im doing the greetings thing.
currenlty usa ny buffalo.
no formal training of any kind in bio but i have two hands my eyes work im very into mody mods/transhumanism and i learn quick.
my goals
fill brain with stuffs
build the necessary equipment for projects with stuffs (even if it is half duck tape and prayers).
compile a list of all know un/naturally occurring bacteria in the human body that currently or with modification could act as a long term beneficial symbiote e coli comes to mind first.
oh and juggling buicks while on fire would be pretty sweet :P


Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:11 am
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:10 pm
Posts: 3
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
Sorry to trample all over the "punk" in the site name, but am I the only one who's pro-"big business"? Money has to come from somewhere. "Good" and "bad" don't come into it, it's just rich or poor, and someone's going to have to be poor for the other to be rich.

Anyhow, back on topic. Very late welcome.


Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:07 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
Posts: 195
Location: Sweden
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
Kuro wrote:
Sorry to trample all over the "punk" in the site name, but am I the only one who's pro-"big business"?

I agree with you, I think ”big business” plays an important role. Some things are done better by bigcorp or well organized entities. Infrastructure comes to mind.

I believe ”Technology beats politics”, that biotechnology shapes its context. The role and context of bigcorp is dictated by what the technology does. In the cases where bigcorp don't understand this they get marginalized or sidestepped. Like when Clinton proclaimed that human genes could not be patented or when countries like Brazil bypass aids drug patents.

In a longer perspective the worst non abiding bigcorps can become are obsolete nuisances. Like RIAA is to the cyberculture.


Kuro wrote:
Money has to come from somewhere. "Good" and "bad" don't come into it,it's just rich or poor, and someone's going to have to be poor for the other to be rich.

I love the cyberpunk model for what you describe:

A human is a machine running a software that changes internal parameters. The parameters say ”I'm 7/10 happy, 2/10 tired, 5/10 horny” and so on. Money is just a parameter among many. If you have more money than someone else it's because you're running a software that's good at lowering other softwares ”Money owned by me” parameter while raising yours. There is no morality involved.

Biopunk says we're fleshmachines. The biopunk model would be slightly different but still end up not having an opinion on the morality of wealth. Were biopunk to concern itself with morality it would be over entirely other issues.

Welcome all

-Splicer

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We can't stop here, this is Bat Country
- Raoul Duke


Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:26 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:34 pm
Posts: 60
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
Big business is vital, but it can also get out of hand. My personal pet peeve is when companies buy out other companies doing groundbreaking medical research... solely to halt that research, so their own products have a better chance in the marketplace.

Enjoy your blood money, jerks.


Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:40 pm
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:57 pm
Posts: 15
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
Owww Newbies,.....

Biopunk like Cyberpunk isn't a business or a commodity, its an attitude about a subject. You can't sell attitude. Biopunk like cyberpunk is a losing game, but why do we hold that attitude, why don't we get that nice bank job? ( I meant either definition of the term.) Monsanto won't go because you know how to PCR 50% the proficiency a undergrad can. Which means you suck.

So, what is biopunk? Are we kind of a art movement with limited aesthetic tenants? No, Biopunk is the father that work overnight on Protein or carbohydrate chain to fix his kids, when he is told by doctors to just give up. Biopunk is anyone who form a community of like minded people to work on real life problems, that companies , institutions and govertment frankly couldn't be bothered with, lie about, or doesn't want anyone to touch. It means draining out own pockets, and taking initiative. So hack away like the computer hackers of forgotten lore,...

Biopunk means defiance of the term idiopathic, which usually means, some idiot doesn't understand a condition, and those idiots are usually doctors. Biopunk means being a fan of Lorenzo Oil. means believing that your efforts could be organised to help so a major problem. That is quite often ignored.

Biopunk means trying to form a free open source synthetic biology platform, for researchers, and "gentlemen scientist" (you can wiki the term). Just like how Cyber punks and hackers give birth to the penguin, and creative commons, Penguins, I do not believe are dying because of the melting Ice cap. I think they are evolving and proving their comparative worth to the dinosaurs of big business.

So work away and remember from time to time publish, so your underground mates know where they are going, remember Peer review and the scientific method.


Mon May 10, 2010 6:08 am
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:57 pm
Posts: 15
Post Re: Greetings from a newcomer
Oh remember Markets are phenormenans, they have no invisible hand, even the underground can be evil, its not intelligent, don't be deluded and keep one eye on reality


Mon May 10, 2010 6:13 am
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