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From bio- +‎ -punk, apparently on the model of cyberpunk. Compare biotech.


biopunk (countable and uncountable, plural biopunks)

  1. (countable, hobbies) A hobbyist who experiments with DNA and other aspects of genetics.[1]
  2. (uncountable, social) A techno-progressive movement advocating open access to genetic information.
    • 2001 August 8, Annalee Newitz, “Biopunk”, in San Francisco Bay Guardian[1], archived from the original on 20 December 2002:
      [I]t's the biopunk revolution. Biopunks are the visionaries and biotech wizards whose imaginations were set on fire by the knowledge that scientists had finally sequenced the human genome last year. Biopunks get off on creative genetic engineering, RNA research, cloning, and protein synthesis. Biopunks hack genomic data, lining up human genomes next to mouse genomes to find out what the two species have in common and what they don't (surprise: they have way more in common than you could possibly ever imagine).
    • 2002 February 27, Annalee Newitz, “Genome liberation: The information that details who we are is too important to be privately owned”, in Salon[2], archived from the original on 11 July 2015:
      In addition to scientists, a number of artists and cultural critics – some of whom are now proudly branding themselves as "biopunks" – are also sounding warnings about the importance of giving the public a voice in how their bodies' genomic information gets used. [] Not every bioinformatics researcher necessarily considers herself to be pursuing the same cause as self-described biopunks, but together, they may represent a movement in the making, one dedicated to the proposition that the information that defines humanity is too precious to be private.
  3. (uncountable, science fiction) A science fiction genre that focuses on biotechnology and subversives.
    • 1997 September 13, Michael Quinion, “Biopunk”, in World Wide Words[3], archived from the original on 8 December 2015:
      In the early nineties there grew up biopunk, a derivative sub-genre building not on IT but on biology, the other dominating scientific field of the end of the twentieth century. Individuals are enhanced not by mechanical means, but by genetic manipulation of their very chromosomes.


  1. ^ J. S. Katz (6 January 1990), “Roses are Black, Violets are Green”, in New Scientist; J. S. Katz (October 1990), “That Which is Not Forbidden is Mandatory”, in Biotechnology Education, volume 4, issue 1, ISSN 0955-6621.