From Publishers Weekly
Biopunks, as defined by AP science and technology reporter Wohlsen, are part of a loosely knit, multifaceted movement to find ways to permit people to engage in DNA research without the restrictions and costs imposed by the scientific and medical establishment. Practitioners, some self-taught, set up shop in their kitchens or garages, believing that significant biological advances are more likely to occur as more people get involved in the enterprise. For the most part opposed to intellectual property rights, they prefer the open-source model used to design some computer software. Although biopunks have not yet made any significant scientific advances, they view themselves as "simplifying and domesticating" biology. Though his prose is a bit dry, Wohlsen introduces some fascinating, altruistic individuals, people who would like to fight disease without profit as their primary motive. While Wohlsen conveys, and seems to share, their excitement, he provides little critical commentary on their prospects for success. He also splits his attention between true DIYers and others who are working outside the scientific establishment because they haven't been able to find jobs or funding. Similarly, modest sections on bioterrorism and potentially dangerous experiments in genetic engineering seem largely unconnected to his main focus. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Wohlsen discovers that biohackers, like the open-source programmers and software hackers who came before, are united by a profound idealism. ... He offers few opinions of his own but raises the questions we need to begin asking.
"His fascinating profiles of biohackers reveal how they embody some of the great contradictions of our modern age: our fear of and desire for power over the stuff of life." -Carl Zimmer, author of A Planet of Viruses The rise of (biohackers) is entertainingly documented in a new book by science writer Marcus Wohlsen, Biopunk, which describes the parallels between today's generation of biological innovators and the rise of computer software pioneers.
-The Guardian Biopunk will be essential reading for anyone interested in the convergence of open source and biotechnology.
Provides a reliable point of departure for navigating this contentious new terrain, and ultimately presents biohacking as a playful approach to science that renders science a playful approach to life. -New Scientist