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First things first: Why am I writing this?

23 June 2010

So, after having swung by my about page, you may wonder what compelled me to dive into this project. It’s a daunting challenge for anyone, much less a 25-year-old with a painfully slim portfolio. But sometimes the obvious answer is the right one: synthetic biology is starting to be huge.

Let’s throw out some pictures and links…

This was the turnout for the first iGEM competition, in 2004. (For newcomers, iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, is like the Academy Awards of synthetic biology. Student teams from all over the world come to MIT every November to present their work. It ends up being a draw for the entire synthetic biology community.)

This was taken at last year’s event. From year one to year six, the competition has gone from a few kids standing around a tree to packing one of the MIT quads. There was discussion that the presentations may have to be moved to a convention center in the future because there are too many people. The community is exploding.

And at the same time, we have stories like this:

And man made life (Economist cover article, 20 May 2010)

A New York Times piece from earlier this month in which a former research manager at Amgen drops this quote: “I know in 10 years it will be a junior-high project to build a bacteria.”

Clearly, we’re building up to something really significant. And I think that I can be the one to capture the moment in a book that’s both definitive and compelling.


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