I’ve written before about Biocurious, the nascent Hackerspace for Biology that is raising money to rent out a real, no-kidding biotech lab full of professional equipment for community and citizen science. It’s ambitious, it’s brilliant, and it’s already resulted in a study that’s been published in Nature Medicine (a very prestigious journal even for well-equipped lab scientists), long before they reach their funding goal.
The study in question was an excellent example of the power of citizen science and collaborative work. Study participants pooled their genetic data from 23andMe and compared their ability to make use of different B9-vitamin formulations through weekly blood tests, resulting in data showing that a certain gene variant (just one part of the 23andMe results) indicates an inability to metabolise the common form of B9, and suggesting therefore that someone with this gene variant should opt for a stronger and chemically different formulation.
Biocurious are now at 91% funding, and have 9 days to go to the end of their Kickstarter fundraising stage. If they complete their funding, they will have made citizen science history for the second time in a year.
I’ve already committed $100, opting to have my name immortalised on a mural (and get a nifty teeshirt). I also threw together a little Biocurious DNA model on Shapeways which I’ll be providing at-cost to the Biocurious guys to reward certain donors. Beyond that, all I can do is keep shouting at everyone else on the internet to share a little out of their pocket for these quite brilliant people.
Go read about it at biocurious.org. From there, if you’re feeling generous, consider donating. You might get a matching teeshirt and we can be really nerdy together.