A new startup company, Cambrian Genomics, has enabled the average citizen to modify or create DNA, literally inventing new life forms. Cambrian, the brainchild of Austin Heinz, has found funding from a variety of venture capitalists, raising $10 million to expand the business. Currently, most of Cambrian’s orders come from pharmaceutical companies, but anyone with the money — not an enormous expense, only five to six cents per DNA letter — can design and print whatever their imagination wishes.
Heinz views the technology as more than just the science fiction it would seem to be; he believes it will one day be possible to design and print modified humans — basically, to make designer babies. Of course, the power to design new life raises important ethical issues, and has not just a few people alarmed. As it stands, there are several major problems with the future which Heinz has envisioned.