Four years ago, I invited a group of strangers off the Internet to do an experiment no one outside a lab had ever done. An artist, a biologist, a writer, and half a dozen others gathered in my living room to genetically engineer bacteria to glow green. The experiment itself was not novel. The gene we manipulated had been used in labs for 20 years (and eventually won its discoverers the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2008). What made the experiment new, and therefore edgy, was the setting—a Brooklyn apartment, rather than an institutional biology lab.