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Gene culture: writers at the Edinburgh Book Festival still discuss science in terms of romance or fear

Here’s a remarkable thing. Two years ago, a group of students from Bangalore created bacteria that emits the smell of rain. The students, who went on to win MIT’s iGEM competition, described their discovery as “like science fiction”—“it’s hacking into life.” When Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg told their story at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival, there was a delighted intake of breath from the audience. Biology…

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