Introducing The Beauty Issue

Grow is Ginkgo’s magazine about synthetic biology, published in conjunction with Massive Science. Today, we’re excited to announce that our second print edition, The Beauty Issue, has begun shipping! Order your own copy now, or send one to a friend this holiday season.

Far from your typical beauty magazine, this is a collection of mind-bending essays and stories on the science and culture of beauty — an expression of our ever-evolving and surprising diversity, biology’s most mysterious trick. Beauty is often considered a superficial quality, but it has tremendous power over us. Defined exclusively, it can become a tool of oppression. But it can also be an important source of joy and creativity, as long as it’s appreciated in all its forms. The Beauty Issue is an attempt to do just that; a glimpse into a world of beauty without boundaries.

Grow is one way we can support critical thought in synthetic biology, which has become all the more important in a year that’s made the power of biology painfully clear. At Ginkgo, we’ve been working hard to help accelerate the tools we need in the fight against the pandemic. But doing so goes beyond just creating the tools. It means asking complex questions and envisioning new collective futures in biology. It means ensuring we design technologies from a conscious place of care, equity, and inclusion. This issue isn’t specifically about all that COVID-19 has uncovered and caused, but about encouraging the different perspectives we need in order to imagine what’s next.

In this issue, you’ll find 80 pages of illustrated features by some of our favorite writers and artists, exploring everything from the billion-dollar anti-aging industry to beauty products made with synbio, from a personal essay about the world’s holiest scent to haunting dystopian science fiction, and so much more. Some pieces are a distraction from the harsh realities of this year, while others face the darkness head on. To give you a preview of what to expect, two of those essays are now available online. In Wings of Desire, Dean Kissick cuts to the heart of the mystery and asks how did beauty evolve in the first place? More specifically, how did birds become beautiful and modern get so weird? In The Ugly Truth, Arabelle Sicardi tells the story of America’s ugly laws, which punished people for being unsightly, and the fierce disability activists who fought to overturn them.

We hope that you find inspiration in the pages of this issue, and that it brightens up the end of your year. Finally, we like to think of every issue of Grow as the beginning of a conversation, and we’d love to hear from as many of you as possible.

Thanks for reading.

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