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Adventures in Synthetic Biology

by Eva Amsen

Adventures in Synthetic Biology is a free flash comic on the Nature website. Did I just say “comic on the Nature website”? Why yes, I did, and the comic looks awesome:


It’s illustrated by Chuck Wadey, and written by Drew Endy and Isodora Deese from the MIT Synthetic Biology Working Group. In the comic project wiki Endy reports the entire thought process behind converting complex scientific principles to cartoons:

I told [Larry Gonick, author of The Cartoon Guide to Genetics] about the image [on my name tag] and explained how the genetically-encoded inverter works. He said, regarding the depiction, “that sucks!” After recovering from shock I asked why. He said that I had told him a story, but that the image is static. It’s an image, but with no meaning. He said I needed a comic. I asked him how to make a comic. He said, “just go make it.”

This comic has come a long way from the first draft!
Nature describes Adventures in Synthetic Biology as accessible for all ages, which is probably true, and incredibly amazing considering the complex nature (no pun intended) of the material.

(Related, and previously featured in the sidebar: Howtoons – short comics explaining (simple) science and technology)

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pim December 1, 2005 - 8:09 AM

I followed the link behind the picture, it got me to a nature page saying: “This comic appeared in the following article”. But, following the link below that, I come to an article that doesn’t seem to refer to the comic (I see 3 other figures, though).

Could you explain how to get to the actual comic?

Eva December 1, 2005 - 10:52 AM

It’s on that page. In Flash, beneath the reference to the original article.

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