The group is currently working on a scoping report on a “DIY Biology Research Proposal”, which will analyse the global DIY Biology landscape. This activity is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation; initially for a 12-months period (June 2018-June 2019). Finalising the report has been postponed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The group is aiming to produce a report on the prospects, risks, and opportunities around DIY Synthetic Biology. Additionally, the group is exploring the development of a potential online course on bioethics and biosafety for non-scientists, DIY biologists, and biohackers.

They have run two online surveys, which were widely shared with the GYA membership and relevant stakeholders outside the GYA:

– one on the global DIY Biology landscape: the aim is to explore the global landscape of DIY biology and understand the challenges and opportunities in the field. The information gained will be used to inform policies that can help support the maximising of benefits and minimising of the associated risks related to the DIY biology field.

– and another on the perception of bio-risks: the aim is to understand the perception of bio-risks associated with Do-it-yourself (DIY) Biology. The information gained will be used to inform policies that can help support the maximising of benefits and minimising of the associated risks related to the DIY biology field.



GYA members Alexander Kagansky (Russia), Velia Siciliano (Italy), Clarissa Rios (Peru), Sandra Lopez (Panama) and GYA alumnus Shoji Komai (Japan) organised a session on “Ethical challenges and governance responsibilities of do-it-yourself biology” at the 2019 World Science Forum in Budapest, Hungary, in November 2019.

Working group co-lead Bartlomiej Kolodziejczyk (Australia) and the group’s external research assistant Khalisah Zulkefli took part in a preparatory workshop meeting on STI for the UN SDGs in Bangkok, Thailand, in February 2019. They presented on synthetic biology and gene drives. See here for more information.

Working group co-lead Bartlomiej Kolodziejczyk (Australia) recently acted as a co-lead author for the section on “Synthetic Biology: Re-engineering the environment” in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Frontiers publication on “Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern”.


Group members have published a paper on “Sharing digitized DNA sequences must balance scientific progress with fair use” in October 2018.

GYA and working group members Bart KolodziejczykAlexander Kagansky, John MaloneClarissa Rios Rojas, Sandra Lopez Verges organized a panel session on the “Do-it-yourself biology movement in Latin America as a driving force of innovation and entrepreneurship” at CILAC 2018 (Open Science Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean). More information on this panel here.

Working group member John Malone (USA) represented the group at the 2018 UN Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation in New York City, USA, in June 2018, where he served as a panellist at the side event on “Implications of emerging biotechnologies in the context of biological diversity: multi-stakeholder perspectives on the risks and benefits”. The event was organized by the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies – Editing Nature, Innovative Genomics Institute at UC Berkeley and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth to discuss the role of gene editing and gene drive technologies in making progress towards the UN SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.

Working group co-lead Bartlomiej Kolodziejczyk (Australia) presented a science policy brief on Do-it-yourself biology: an open innovation movement or a threat? at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs expert group meeting on accelerated technological change and policy implications for the UN SDGs in Mexico in April 2018.


Two members of the group contributed to a G20 policy brief on “Consolidated G20 synthetic biology policies and their role in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The group organised a policy Hackathon which took place before the International Workshop on “Assessing the Security Implications of Genome Editing Technology” organised by the the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in October 2017. The resulting policy briefs and policy recommendations will be published soon.