Wired's Liz Stinson takes a closer look at the innovative world of visionary synthetic biologists at Ginkgo BioWorks, an organization that is a hybrid between a biotech startup and a research lab (or, as Ginkgo calls itself: "an organism design foundry") that manipulates and rearranges DNA to build and replicate various organisms.
Advocates of the technology predict that current experiments, such as replicating the scent of a grape using yeast, could eventually lead to bigger-picture operations, like helping eradicate malaria by injecting certain species of mosquitoes with disease-resistant gene drives.
The first thing you notice in the bright white lab are the robots. They’re everywhere. Ginkgo has one for nearly every step in the organism-synthesizing process—there’s a robot devoted to pipetting drops of DNA, a robot in charge of fermenting yeast, and another robot for analyzing the molecular composition of the yeasts’ fermentation products.