Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses. DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are nucleic acids; alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), they are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life. Most DNA molecules consist of two biopolymer strands coiled around each other to form a double helix.


In February, Tegenlicht visited the BioHack Academy to witness an experiment with genetic manipulation. Sunday March 25, the episode 'Doctoring with DNA' was broadcasted.


The Dutch newspaper Trouw published an article on 'DIY DNA' about two Americans who developed their own genetic therapy. Lucas Evers of our Open Wetlab gives his reaction.



Gene coop

DNA is the most personal data available. Where is your DNA stored? And with whom do you want to share it? We believe citizens should remain owners of their genetic data.


The speed at which our biotechnological world is changing makes it difficult to reflect on how we feel about it. Het Praktikum offers a platform for this, during the first edition we analyzed CRISPR technology and debat.


The creaky wooden floor in the Theatrum Anatonicum of the Waag was covered in white, the vodka for a DNA extraction experiment was ice cold, and the 3D printer warming up. Waag's Do-It-Yourself Healthcare Clinic was about to open its doors to the public—or, rather, to prospective creators and 'patients'.


At the Cutting Edge festival last week in Oslo, Pieter van Boheemen witnessed yet another debate on the future of genetic engineering. Unfortunately these debates often take the hope versus horror approach. Curing all genetic diseases versus pigs with wings. Higher agricultural yields versus designer babies. Dystopia versus utopia.


Lucas Evers (Open Wetlab) of Waag has contributed to a new publication of COGEM titled 'Gentechdebat op scherp'.


September 7th, the KNAW organised a symposium about gene editing. This is a technically interesting, scientifically exciting, and socially relevant subject. Thanks to the competent speakers, a clear picture was given of the temporary developments, possibilities and scientific challenges, particularly in Dutch universities.


Tuesday the 22nd of March and Thursday the 24th, a two-evening workshop about genetic modification was organised by artist in resident Špela Petrič, head of the Open Wetlab Pieter van Boheemen and the Waag’s safety officer Per Staugaard.


Genetic modification is something you can learn. Waag's biotechnologist, Pieter van Boheemen, shows in this video what steps you should follow to create your own glow-in-the-dark e.coli bacteria (if you have a permit to do so).


Finally, genetic engineering is now officially allowed in Waag's Open Wetlab! The Ministry has granted us the right to program the DNA of bacteria in our lab for bioart, biodesign and biohacking.


The artistic interest in life sciences is on the rise. However, the debate around genetic engineering for art remains undecided in The Netherlands. So I flew to Helsinki to join a group of biohackers in teaching genetic engineering to artists, “Rock & Roll” style.


Rijd met je auto een willekeurige stad in, grote kans dat je nummerplaat wordt opgeslagen. De fiets is daarvoor gelukkig nog een privacy-proof alternatief. Maar je DNA schudt je niet zo makkelijk van je af. Geen wonder dat spionagediensten zitten te springen om die informatie vast te gaan leggen. Minister Plasterk wilt DNA-databank voor AIVD toestaan (bron: security.nl). Reailiteit of een slechte 1 april grap?


Currently, Claudia Marginean from Romania is working on the 'Mystery Meat' experiment, which we hope to turn into a workshop in the Autumn. She is looking at meat samples to identify exactly what kind of meat is in them. Can you trust the ingredients listed on your sandwich packaging... or are you on the verge of uncovering another horsemeat scandal?


In biotechnology we have 'hello world' experiments too, that simply demonstrate that something works as it should. In genetics one can visualize and characterize DNS, this is sometimes called in CSI-like terms 'DNA fingerprinting'.