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Kickstarter's New Rule May Impact Science-Based Campaigns

The popular funding platform is taking a second look at some science-based projects.

After an internet backlash against a bioengineering crowdfunding campaign, Kickstarter recently made a new rule that might limit the future funding of science campaigns, reports Popular Science

Here's what happened: The Glowing Plants project launched on Kickstarter on April 23rd, with the goal to develop a sustainable light source by genetically modifying plants to glow in the dark. A month after the project’s launch, a petition appeared on petition website Avaaz asking Kickstarter not to “allow bioengineered organisms.” It got a whopping 14,000 signatures. Though The Glowing Plant project reached its goal of $484,000, on July 31st, Kickstarter added the new rule. It states: “Projects cannot offer genetically modified organisms as a reward."

So why the knee-jerk new rule? Yancey Strickler, a co-founder of Kickstarter, told the Verge: "Kickstarter is a funding platform for artistic and creative projects. While we love science and have had some amazing science-related projects, this is an evolving debate in an area outside of our core focus."

Outside of this new guideline, Kickstarter has not taken a firm stance in regards to funding projects working with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other synthetic biology projects.

The good news for science-inclined entrepreneurs is that other crowdfunding platforms, such as Indiegogo, PertriDish and Microryza, might be a better fit for raising money.  

This is the second time in Kickstarter's history that the company has had to reign in the types of projects launched on the site. 

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