Team:SJTU-BioX-Shanghai/Human practice 2


  • Human Practice 2


    iGEM is a world-wide competition hold mainly by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technolo-gy )who calls the undergraduate students all over the world to learn and fulfill the idea on syn-thetic biology through competition and what’s more follow their dream on the academic field. This year, to make it easier for High School teams to share in the fun of Synthetic Biology and iGEM, a high school division of this game has just been hold.


    In order to promote synthetic biology and iGEM, we decided to give a presentation to a senior school Biology Olympic Competition class; members of which have great interests in the biology and basic knowledge on genetic engineering and microbiology. And then we design a question-naire to exam the efficiency of the presentation and survey their ideas on the synthetic biology and attitude to join the iGEM high school divisoin. We believe that understanding their mind and attitudes would be greatly useful for the development of iGEM. During the presentation, we give them a brief introduction of the basic knowledge,research strategy , application and industrialization of synthetic biology.

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    Furthermore, we also introduced several interesting iGEM projects such as the bacteria which eat the alkaline (2010 TU_Delft) and the bacteria which detect the nitrogen (BCCS-Bristol). In the end of the presentation, we introduced our iGEM project this year in a plain way. With the help of the presentation and their basic knowledge on the synthetic biology, they have a very clear idea about what iGEM is like as well as our project when we finished.

    Q: How to avoid the mischarging of tRNA, if we introduce tRNA and aaRS pair? A: The mischarging can be avoided by the aaRS’s ability to recognize the other parts of the tRNA than anticodon . (We put it in a plain way so that they can understand it with ease) Q: What is the application of the project? A: For example, sometimes changing amino-acid on active center of an enzyme would have a great effect on enzyme activity. Our project provides an easy way to introduce point mutation at the active center.

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    The teacher had also joined the discussion and asked the questions.? Q:Is the project done by the experiment or just a theoretical research? A:What we have shown is our experiment result. We have spent a lot of time in the lab on our project. iGEM is not only a competition of ideas, but of fulfilling them as well. Q: What is the significance of this competition to the senior school students? A: Taking part in iGEM is a good chance for the students to learn about academic thinking ways and helps them make decision about their future career. By showing the usefulness of synthetic biology, iGEM raises students’ confidence to further study biology. Q: It makes the living creature as the toys of the human-beings, doesn’t it? A: No, living creature could never be the toy of the human-being, no matter how much we can manipulate living creatures by the method of genetic engineering and synthetic biology. We pay as much attention to bio- safety and ethics as to the experiment and technology.

    Questionnaire Result

    From the column above, we can discover that in the students with good background of biology, almost half of the students have knew the synthetic biology before. And after the presentation, all of them can understand well and gain great interests on the future development of the synthetic biology. That inferred that those students can be the members of the iGEM high school division. What they need is just the opportunity and the foundation.

    They have also listed several difficulties in participating the iGEM competition, such as limi-tation of professional knowledge and experiment training, lack of funding and professional ad-visors and most of all the pressure of examination.

    From the favorite application, we should mention that the high school students care most about the application which can affect the daily life actively around them, while the biotech and the environment is the second and the third.


    1. The competition may be arranged like the SAGE project which the team would compete with their idea, not the experiment result because the senior school would not have enough money to cover the cost of the experiment and the equipment. And finally the winner group would have the budget and the Lab to help them.

    2. Just like SAGE competition, the undergraduate students in the university who has attend the SAFE competition can be the consultant of the team, our iGEM team in the university could be the consultant of the team in then certain district or the school.

    3. The team can consist of not only the students of a school or several schools, but also students of a certain city, district or even a country. And iGEM should give the chance to let the students to communicate with each other.