FROM THE WINDOWS of Ginkgo Bioworks’ Boston offices you can peer down into a grimy vestige of the city’s past. Across the street, workers in yellow-slicker overalls scrub, scrape, and repair the decks of worn-out warships and ocean tankers parked in a drydock. During World War II, 50,000 people worked the docks and the eight-story waterside warehouse that Ginkgo now calls home. Inside the synthetic biology company’s glass-walled foundries, humans are now less obvious, with algorithms designing industrial organisms and robot armies building them in humming, hypnotic synchronicity. Continue reading GINKGO BIOWORKS IS TURNING HUMAN CELLS INTO ON-DEMAND FACTORIES
The fear of genetically-modified creatures escaping from the lab is the basis for a thousand sci-fi stories, but it’s also a legitimate concern. That’s why genetic engineers are inventing kill switches, or genetically-encoded suicide triggers, for GMOs they want to keep contained. Here’s how they work.