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Do the Tools Make the Lab?

A story in the New Scientist reports on the recent io9 mad scientist competition, which is part of a DIY biology movement that aims to help people without top-notch equipment and years of training to run experiments, especially in the area of synthetic biology. Using cheap lab tools bought on eBay or homebrew pieces made out of items lying around the house, DIY biologists are doing everything from engineering microbes that perform logic operations to creating fluorescent yogurt. "Biology is becoming less of a science and more of a technology," says Mackenzie Cowell, co-founder of the group DIYbio, which now has 20 members. "There will be more opportunity for people who didn't spend up to seven years getting a PhD in the field."

Over at In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe wonders how the lack of fancy tools affects a researcher's mindset. Thinking of workarounds can be a good way to innovate, but it could also simply hamper the scientific process. "If you know, in the back of your mind and in your heart, that there's no way to do certain experiments, then you won't even think about them," he writes.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.