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A machine that allows ‘bio-hackers’ and DIY biologists to take part in DNA experimentation for a fraction of the normal cost has gone on sale in the UK for the first time.

The instrument, called the ‘Open PCR’ (PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction) is less than one tenth the cost of similar ‘lab grade’ machines. It’s believed that making DNA technology available at a lower cost will kick-start research by thousands of ‘garage biologists’ and could lead to eventual discoveries in areas including bio-fuel and disease gene sequencing.

One of the machine’s creators, California based Josh Perfetto says : “With OpenPCR, DNA is now DIY. Student, hackers, and makers can now use the same powerful techniques used by professional scientists to work with DNA. OpenPCR brings DNA detection and manipulation into the realm of open source, and reduces the cost to do so by an order of magnitude. This greatly expands access to PCR, not only to DIY enthusiasts, but...

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