Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Regular readers of my blog might have noticed that I have a weak spot for the DIY movement especially in biology and biotechnology. I try to follow the news in this sector and secured them a spot in the DNA Barcoding Bulletin that we produce quarterly. That being said, I was surprised that I didn't find out about the BioCoder newsletter that is published by O’Reilly.

O'Reilly is an american media company that mostly publishes books on computer technology topics. Their distinctive brand features a woodcut of an animal on many of their book covers. If you don't know what I am talking about I suggest you type in "O’Reilly covers" in a Google Image search. The animal illustrations are quite beautiful. I have a few of their books in my shelf and my favorite is a book on BLAST showing a coelacanth on the cover (see image below).

So what is BioCoder? Here is what their website has to say about that:
We’re at the start of a revolution that will transform our lives as radically as the computer revolution of the 70s. The biological revolution will touch every aspect of our lives: food and health, certainly, but also art, recreation, law, business, and much more.

BioCoder is the newsletter of that revolution. It’s about biology as it moves from research labs into startup incubators, hacker spaces, and even homes. It’s about a very old programming language that we’re just beginning to understand, and that’s written in a code made up of organic chemicals. It’s the product of a sharing community of scientists that stretches from grade school to post docs and university faculty.

The new spring issue contains an article about DNA Barcoding of fungi coming from a DIY lab in Victoria here in Canada. The organism choice clearly tells me that DIY people are up for challenges and not necessarily aiming for the low hanging fruits. The article is pretty interesting also from a technical standpoint and there is a part II following in the next issue. 

Great new resource. Well, not that new. This was their third issue. So, it is new to me but I am sure not news to the DIY biohack community.

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