Garage science.

Not like engineering better automatic doors. Like garage bands. Nature welcomes a generation of DIY researchers:

Stories in the press are often peppered with sweeping claims of the monumental advances to be made by unleashing the talents of the public at large on important biological questions. Equally common are breathless warnings that a bioterrorist is busy crafting the next plague in a garage, safe from the watchful eye of the authorities.

Neither image rings true. Most biohackers are hobbyists who delight in crafting their own equipment and who tackle projects no more sophisticated than those found in an advanced high-school biology lab. This is not to belittle their achievements — the most basic lab experiments can be a challenge without the institutional infrastructure professional scientists take for granted. And it is not necessarily the sophistication of the techniques, but the questions to which they are applied, that makes for compelling science.