While in the UK, I had a gap in my schedule at IWBDA, and so I went to Edinburgh. It was a lovely train ride up the coast from Newcastle, and for the first time in my life I had an opportunity to visit Scotland, birthplace of my McDonald and Houston ancestors. Getting off the train at Edinburgh station, I was immediately struck by the remarkable degree to which the city is a center of culture, from the omnipresent Robert Burns quotes in the station to the theaters all about, not to mention the burgeoning festivals just beginning their month of explosion through the streets. It was a fine warm, sunny day, and I immediately set off walking across the town toward my main business: visiting colleagues.
One of my stops that day was the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, one of only few such centers like it in the world. At present, I am aware of only eight: five in the US (Ginkgo Bioworks, Amyris, Zymergen, MIT/Broad, and Urbana-Champaign), two in the UK (Imperial and Edinburgh), and one at the National University of Singapore. I may well be missing some, and others may be getting founded even as I speak (the UK and Singapore foundries are just getting off the ground), but the point is there's a small but growing number of such centers, both in industry and academia.
Read Beal's full blog post here.