Project

Participatory Biotechnology

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David Sun Kong

David Sun Kong

The development of biotechnologies since the era of recombinant DNA in the 1970s has occurred largely via the interaction of academic, industrial, and governmental institutions. Largely absent from this ecosystem are the informed inputs of grassroots communities at any point in the technology developmental cycle.

The parallel rise of high-throughput, next generation DNA sequencing and advanced DNA synthesis technologies (reading and writing DNA), along with invention of precise genome editing technologies (e.g., CRISPR) has humanity at the brink of a new era, one where living technologies rule. Given the vital importance of living technologies, not only to human health, manufacturing, the economy, and environment, but to our social fabric and culture, we ask:

  • How should living technologies be developed?
  • How can we ensure there is broad, diverse participation in biotechnology?
  • How can marginalized, under-represented and indigenous communities be agents of change in this era?
  • What types of institutions and design practices can be employed to ensure just outcomes?
  • How can humanity work harmoniously, in concert with nature,… View full description

The development of biotechnologies since the era of recombinant DNA in the 1970s has occurred largely via the interaction of academic, industrial, and governmental institutions. Largely absent from this ecosystem are the informed inputs of grassroots communities at any point in the technology developmental cycle.

The parallel rise of high-throughput, next generation DNA sequencing and advanced DNA synthesis technologies (reading and writing DNA), along with invention of precise genome editing technologies (e.g., CRISPR) has humanity at the brink of a new era, one where living technologies rule. Given the vital importance of living technologies, not only to human health, manufacturing, the economy, and environment, but to our social fabric and culture, we ask:

  • How should living technologies be developed?
  • How can we ensure there is broad, diverse participation in biotechnology?
  • How can marginalized, under-represented and indigenous communities be agents of change in this era?
  • What types of institutions and design practices can be employed to ensure just outcomes?
  • How can humanity work harmoniously, in concert with nature, to co-evolve and flourish?


We will host a workshop on this topic during the biennial Participatory Design Conference in Genk and Hasselt, Belgium. 

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Nicole Bakker