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Biopunk (a combination of "biotechnology" and "punk") is a biotechnological technoprogressive movement advocating open access to genetic information. Biopunk hobbyists or biohackers/grinders experiment with DNA and other aspects of genetics.

There also related biopunk science fiction genre focuses on biotechnology and subversives and can be caught overlap/connected with others (Non) Sci-fi related genres outside main cyberpunk genre are magical realism, superhero, sci-fantasy, low fantasy.

Citizen Science movement/Subcultural movment

The biopunk movement is a small intellectual and cultural movement, which encompasses a growing number of scientists, artists, cultural critics and sci-fi followers who are organizing to create public awareness of how genomic information, produced by bioinformatics, gets used and misused. On the basis of a presumed parallel between genetic and computational code, science journalist Annalee Newitz has called for open-sourcing of genomic databases and declared that "Free our genetic data!" is the rallying cry of the biopunk. Biological Innovation for Open Society is an example of an open-source initiative in biotechnology aiming to apply open license for biological innovation.[1]

Self-described "transgenic artist" Eduardo Kac uses biotechnology and genetics to create works that both utilise and critique scientific techniques. In one of his works, Alba, Kac collaborated with a French laboratory to procure a green-fluorescent rabbit: a rabbit implanted with a green fluorescent protein gene from a type of jellyfish in order for the rabbit to fluoresce green under ultraviolet light. The members of the Critical Art Ensemble have written books and staged multimedia performance interventions around this issue, including The Flesh Machine (focusing on in vitro fertilisation, surveillance of the body, and liberal eugenics) and Cult of the New Eve (in order to analyze how in their words "Science is the institution of authority regarding the production of knowledge, and tends to replace this particular social function of conventional Christianity in the west").[2] Contributors to Biotech Hobbyist Magazine have written extensively on the field.[3]

Biologist, speculative-fiction author, Meredith L. Patterson is known for her work on yogurt bacteria within the DIYbio community, as well as being the author of "A Biopunk Manifesto", which she delivered at the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics' symposium, "Outlaw Biology? Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio".[4][5] This manifesto is modeled after "A Cypherpunk Manifesto" by Eric Hughes, which states the goals of the cypherpunk movement. The influence of the cypherpunks (a cyberpunk derivative like the biopunk subculture) on the biopunk community does not end there; Patterson's husband and long-time collaborator Len Sassaman was a cypherpunk contemporary of Hughes. Patterson and Sassaman have worked together on a number of biohacking projects and heavily promoted the continued legality of citizen science, both on moral and practical grounds.[6][7]

The movement is also a political dissident movement to the extent that the arrest and prosecution of some members for their work with harmless microbes, such as artivist Steve Kurtz, has been denounced as political repression by critics who argue the U.S. government has used post-9/11 anti-terrorism powers to intimidate artists and others who use their art to criticize society.[8]

Science fiction

Biopunk science fiction is also subgenre or derivative of cyberpunk fiction that focuses on the near-future unintended consequences of the biotechnology revolution following the discovery of recombinant DNA. Biopunk stories explore the struggles of individuals or groups, often the product of human experimentation, against a backdrop of totalitarian governments and megacorporations which misuse biotechnologies as means of social control and profiteering. Unlike cyberpunk, it builds not primarily on information technology, but on synthetic biology and other biotechnological fields like genetic engineering. Like in post-cyberpunk fiction, individuals are usually modified and enhanced not with cyberware, but by genetic manipulation. A common feature of biopunk fiction is the "black clinic", which is a laboratory, clinic, or hospital that performs illegal, unregulated, or ethically-dubious biological modification and genetic engineering procedures.[9] Many features of biopunk fiction have their roots in William Gibson's Neuromancer, one of the first cyberpunk novels.[10]

List of Examples of classified confirmed or claimed references to Biopunk genre in fiction


  • Elfen Lied - Is around Lucy (the villain protagonist) a 'Homo Diclonii' that has telekinetic powers, also she artificial specimen created from Biotech Corporation and born genetic modified from test subject's sperm eggs.


  • Doktor Sleepless - Features a counterculture of DIY transhumanists (referred to as grinders, originating the term), as well as numerous references to speculative and bleeding-edge technologies.


  • Amphibian Man - Have surgery modified man through possibly by genetic modification to survive underwater.
  • District 9 - Have the main hero slowly mutated into Prawns species through the genetically engineered blood that seemly was planned be bioterrorist attack prior events before the film started.
  • ExistenZ - The majority of the film takes place inside dream-like virtual reality by biotechnological umbilical cords that virtually resemblance reptilian embryo.
  • Lucy - Is involve around the titular Lucy, an unexpected victim-turned-enforced drug dealer, who's drug accidentally turns her into a posthuman being by accidentally overdosing a nootropic drug named CPH4.

Live Action

  • Orphan Black - Explores on human cloning (later eventually biohacking/bioterrorism, genetic engineering, and synthetic biology) in majority of series and seeing mixed results as being close and also hunted down by Religious fanatics and American government or Anti-hero-turn-Antagonist group Neolution that true driving force of the show's genre.

Video Games

  • BioShock series - Strong element in the majority of series is player(s) as along most of the villains are using magical realism/sci-fantasy style genetic engineering (Plasmids in Rapture universe and Vigors in Columbia universe(s) respectively))
  • Half-life series - A minor part of the series explores Xen species and "X race" species in Opposing Force expansion pack, their weapon type seen in games are bioweapons with insect-style ammo that appears original Half-Life & Opposing Force storylines, and Vortigaunts are using magic-like electrokinesis powers throughout the series. The Combine technology seen in the Half-Life 2 and Half-Life: Alyx used some form of biotechnology to their alien citizens, and even using them as biofuel in the latter.
  • Resident Evil series - Series main point is what happens Biotechnology gone wrong and usually keep abusing it by either Biotech corporations and Bioterrorist groups, With every game is fight/surviving in a biopunk-style (action) horror setting.


External links