Edgar Andrés Ochoa Cruz (et al.) (2016) The Biohacking Landscape in Latin America
DIYbio democratized genetic engineering, a technology known by many names, including molecular biology, biotechnology, and synthetic biology. An early promoter of DIYbio was Rob Carlson, who in a 2005 Wired article showed that $1,000 was all it cost to start using this technology and pointed to online resources. In 2008, DIYbio.org launched as a channel of communication for DIYers who wanted to build a community around it. In 2010, the first biohacker spaces opened in California (BioCurious) and New York (Genspace). Today DIYbio.org maintains a list of the biohacker spaces around the world: 35 in North America, 28 in Europe, 5 in Latin America, 3 in Asia, and 3 in Oceania. In six short years, the movement has become a global phenomena.
Here is where the Latin American story of DIYbio begins. Focusing on the cultural similarities of the region (from Mexico to the Patagonia), we will describe the landscape of the biohacking spaces and the open-science initiatives that are expanding there. Also, we will describe the formation of the movement and the strategies that it has created to survive. In addition, we will explain the problems and questions faced by Latin America’s biohackers when trying to develop this movement in their own cultural and technological context.