11 Strange, Wild Ways Biotech Is Going to Change Our Future

Enjoy your dinner.

Synth Pops

The next generation of inventors, tinkerers, and experimenters aren’t using silicon chips to power new developments – they’re using DNA.

No less an authority than MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte has declared, “Biotechnology is the new digital…”

Check out 9 of the strange, wonderful ways synthetic biology is going to change our future.

Gingko Bioworks

Boston’s Gingko Bioworks launched in 2008 to custom-design synthetic organisms for the food, cosmetic, and fragrance industries. In the decade since, Gingko has radically expanded their scope – today, they’re working on developing crops designed to fertilize themselves.

Ava Winery

The Franken-wine from Ava Winery isn’t produced from grapes. Instead, the San Francisco-based startup combines precisely-determined flavor molecules with water, sugars, and ethanol to create a sustainable replica of much pricier quaffs. They hope to launch this year.

Modern Meadow

Modern Meadow creates biofabricated leather material without ever involving an animal. The vegan-friendly fashionistas genetically engineer a strain of yeast to form a protein identical to bovine collagen. In 2017, the company debuted a fashion line made from the product, Zoa, at the Museum of Modern Art.

Revolution Bioengineering

Meet Petunia Circadia, from Revolution Bioengineering, “a flower that changes color continuously throughout the day, from pink to blue and back again.” The team has created prototypes by altering the expression of anthocyanins, which give flowers their color.


Industrial dyeing is among the most environmentally destructive industries in the world. France’s Pili is working to change that, by offering renewable dyes that are bio-fabricated by bacteria.


Brooklyn’s Afineur combines beneficial micro-organisms with raw coffee beans to create Cultured Coffee, a brew that they promise won’t give you the jitters, tastes better, and contains extra bioactive compounds. 5 ounces of the beans will run you $20.


CustoMem uses bioengineering to create, in effect, industrial-scale Brita filters for waste water. The company manufactures biologically synthesized materials designed to remove micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and pesticides.


Turning DNA into data is no longer the domain of labs or universities, thanks to Chai, a DNA diagnostics device which is targeted to “biohackers, students, [and] scientists on a budget.” Costing a mere (relatively speaking) $3,750, the tool integrates with Mac or PC and promises results in as little as 15 minutes.

Perfect Day Foods

One of many entrants in the bio-engineered food space, Perfect Day Foods creates animal-free dairy proteins to be used as a base product for cheese, yogurt, milk, and more.