Crowdfunded DIY biologists learning genetic engineering not so easy

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The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

The Glowing Plant project…has not made any plants able to emit light unassisted. The seeds it promised to its backers are already two years overdue, putting the project on track to become a Kickstarter failure.

“What it says is that biotechnology is not as easy as portrayed in the popular media,” says Todd Kuiken…who studies synthetic biology[.] “All these stories that people are going to make viruses or new animals in their garage, well, it’s just not as easy as connecting Legos together.”

The project’s core aim has been to add six genes into the genome of tobacco plants and coördinate them as an entire metabolic pathway. And that has proved very difficult to do. Familiar GMOs from companies like Monsanto don’t attempt anything so challenging.

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“I was surprised by the promises they made. I thought, maybe they know something I don’t. Now I see that it is delusional,”  [scientist Alexander Krichevsky] says. “They didn’t deliver anything for three years and I strongly doubt they ever will.”

Read full, original post: Why Kickstarter’s Glowing Plant Left Backers in the Dark

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