When did biohacking become a thing?

The term "biohacking" has only recently become more widely used, but the concept of using technology and science to manipulate and control biological systems has been around for some time. In the early 1900s, for example, scientists began using genetic engineering to modify the DNA of bacteria and other microorganisms. In the decades that followed, the field of biohacking has continued to evolve and expand, with the development of new technologies and techniques for studying and manipulating biological systems. More recently, the rise of the DIY biology movement and the increasing availability of new technologies, such as wearable devices and genetic testing, has brought biohacking into the mainstream and has made it more accessible to individuals. So, while the term "biohacking" may be relatively new, the concept has been around for some time.


The term biohacking, as well as the concept of “do it yourself” biology, were known as early as 1988. In interviews, people always ask me how biohackers will publish their articles or participate in other ceremonial activities. However, he noted that, while biohacking can be considered a positive movement, it is still far from having a significant impact, especially when compared to the rise of electronics and amateur computing in the 1970s. Genspace also offers introductory courses, such as the Biohacker Boot Camp or the Biotech Crash Course. A subgroup of biohackers known as Grinders become cyborgs by inserting magnets, chips or computers under their skin.

Intermittent fasting is a common type of low-tech biohacking aimed at regulating blood sugar and maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, there are examples of amateurs trying to evade the usual avenues and safety controls of clinical research, such as a biohacker who tried to develop a supposed cure for lactose intolerance. It may be hard to believe because of the headlines, but when I started my career to become a scientist, I didn't even know what a biohacker was. If you've heard stories about people who implant French fries in their appendages, use devices to change their brain waves and sleep better, or put butter in their morning coffee, that's biohacking in action.

At the most extreme end of the biohacking spectrum, there are people who test blood transfusions on young people (yes, it really exists) and even inject genes that they have edited with CRISPR technology. However, examples of biohackers creating home cures can be problematic, especially if they were emulated by others without caution or guidance. While biohackers are a diverse group, they share a belief in radical self-experimentation, from implanting shiny discs under their skin to altering their own genetic code. And as technology for technical biohacking becomes more and more available on the market, “do it yourself” health opportunities are becoming increasingly extreme.

He says the experience helped define a divide in the biohacking community, which separated scientists from specialists. Other biohackers use a highly technical approach to designing their own bodies while trying to correct their flaws and become superhuman. Then there are biohackers who push medical procedures to the limit in their quest for health and longevity.

Chelsea Waldren
Chelsea Waldren

Evil beer ninja. Incurable internet aficionado. Twitter scholar. Extreme music buff. Award-winning zombie guru.

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