Searching for the Ubiquitous Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM 2011)
In Synthetic Biology, the Biobrick has been used as an abstraction or template for creating standardized functional parts. This year's ArtScienceBangalore project proposes alternate re-appropriations of the BioBrick by using existing BioBrick primers as random-PCR primers in investigating soil samples. This random PCR will provide a succinct signature of the biological diversity present in these samples. These investigations of soil lead us to ask questions about citizen’s science "performed" by non-institutional actors using accessible tools as well as gives us a glimpse into the "post-natural world" where BioBricks may end up in our environment and may very well show up as bands in a gel. By imagining a world in which the Biobrick has become the accepted standard for synthetic biology, and where these engineered products are ubiquitous in our lives and environments, the samples we archive will serve as the baseline from which the subsequent extent of human influence can be measured.