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DIY Bioengineering: Make Your Own Antidepressant Yogurt

Is the cost of Prozac getting you down? Well, it’s also available for real cheap (minus the cost of some lab equipment) at the corner store. Just put on your goggles and lab coat and get ready to create your own.

Why buy drugs from pharmaceutical companies when you can make them yourself? It’s not as far-out of an idea as it sounds. Artist Tuur van Balen recently offered up his method for hacking yogurt’s DNA to turn it into Prozac.

You don’t need a fancy lab for this hack—just a bacteria culture of lactobacillus, which you can get at a health food store; DNA coding instructions from the Parts Registry; a centrifuge; an electroporator (it costs a little over $600 on eBay); and a handful of other tools. Mix the bacteria with a synthetic version of antidepressant DNA (you can find it on the Parts Registry and then order the DNA online), follow van Balen’s instructions, and voila, you have a bacteria that can be used as a yogurt culture base for Prozac yogurt.

There’s no need to shell out for tools if you live in certain parts of the U.S. In New York City, aspiring biohackers can join Genspace, a community biolab that offers everything you need to make your own yogurt. Bay Area biohackers have a similar space in BioCurious. Proceed with caution.