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The BIOS Initiative - open source biotechnology is born

Althought we covered it partially this week, this initiative is so important that it deserve another, more complete description.

In a publication today in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature, a team at CAMBIA in Canberra unveils the 'kernel' of the world's first 'explicit open source' biotechnology toolkit. These tools, and the precedent they establish, will allow the public-sector, small to medium enterprises and even large firms worldwide to explore new business models and begin a new era of transparent and cost-effective innovation in life sciences.

The technologies include TransBacter, a new method for transferring genes to plants, and GUSPlus, a new way of visualizing where these genes are and how they function. "These tools are seeding a growing movement ?the BIOS Initiative ?that will enable researchers, even in the poorest countries in the world, to be partners in the choice and development of the crop improvement technologies best suited to their own priorities", says Richard Jefferson, founder and CEO of CAMBIA and Adjunct Professor at Charles Sturt University (CSU).

"Most importantly, these new tools are provided under a new licensing paradigm that ensures that they are improved, shared and retained as a public resource."

Today also sees the launch of BioForge (www.bioforge.net), an online collaborative research platform for biological innovation, developed in partnership with CollabNet Inc (www.collab.net). In the tradition of open source software, BioForge makes it possible for scientists to work together to craft new, deliverable technologies within a "protected commons".

"BioForge is a hands-on, evolving tool kit to make things happen. BioForge is about sharing capabilities and building communities of innovation to tackle the challenges of global health, poverty and hunger. These problems are best solved by empowering unt
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Source:CAMBIA


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