Many great information technology companies launched in garages by young silicon hackers. Now a new generation of hackers are starting to do the same in the bio sciences, developing new software programs and techniques that are set to disrupt the biotech industry in a very big way.

We found two videos that show just how far genetic hackers have come in a very short period of time.

The first is from Tuur van Balen, a Belgian scientist, who shows how to hack the bacteria found in yogurt to produce prozac and beta carotene. He accomplishes the task with around $2000 worth of equipment (most of it home made) and genetic code found online and “printed” by a genetic sequencing service.

YouTube video

Genetic source code is much like computer binary code. And like computer binary code most programmers use “interpreters” that translate that code into clearer language. In the following video from Leo Laporte and the TWiT network, genetic entrepreneur Omri Drory demonstrates his new software product that allows for drag and drop DNA sequencing. He’s joined by another genetic hacker, Austen Heinz of Cambrian Genomics, who is working on ways to dramatically reduce the cost involved with sequencing DNA produced from Drory’s software.

YouTube video

Drory says he will soon be launching a Kickstarter project that will sell glowing oak trees using hacked DNA from fireflies.

Both Drory and Heinz have no reservations over DNA hacking to create new lifeforms or variations of existing ones. They say humans have been doing this for centuries with plants and animals through selection. Others, however, say it’s dangerous to be playing with the building blocks of life. What do you think?

Connect with Lon:

Lon Seidman is the host and producer of “Lon.TV,” a consumer technology video show that is on a number of platforms including YouTube and Amazon. He creates in-depth, consumer-friendly product reviews and commentary. His YouTube channel has over 300,000 subscribers and more than 100 million views.

In addition to being a full-time content creator, Lon is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford (his alma mater) where he teaches a course in entrepreneurial content creation.

Prior to becoming a full-time creator, Lon was a partner at The Safety Zone, his family’s business that manufactures gloves and safety equipment. The company has locations around the globe and employs over 200 people worldwide. The Safety Zone was acquired by the Genuine Parts Corporation in 2016.

Lon is also active in public service, serving as the Chairman of the Essex Board of Education, a member of the Region 4 Board of Education, and as the Secretary / Treasurer of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. He was endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans for his re-election in 2021.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of