Team:TU Munich/human/comics


Human Practices


Besides the practical work in the lab, we put great effort into human practice. We believe that informing the public about synthetic biology is an essential duty of young scientists like ourselves, since this is a good way to spread understanding and promote acceptance.

In our experience, people are often sceptical or even disapproving of genetic engineering and synthetic biology. We believe that is because of their lack of knowledge of these topics. The average person with no connection to genetics has usually heard small bits and pieces in the media which focus on controversial topics such as GM Maize or Dolly. As a consequence, people are afraid of the new and unknown technologies and oftentimes say things like “Gross! Genes in my food?”

We therefore strongly emphasize the importance of discussions about synthetic biology and the consideration of ethics. In our opinion the first step that needs to be taken is to increase understanding and knowledge within the general public, for this is the basis to a responsible society capable of dealing with important issues like genetic engineering.

Today’s children and youth are the foundation for tomorrow’s society. That’s why we focused on them and decided to contribute our share in “spreading the word”. We visited a number of high school classes as well as two kindergartens where we offered insights into the world of bacteria, DNA, genetic engineering and of course iGEM. In addition to this, members of our team also gave two radio interviews which were aired in Munich. We invite you to read our reports, find out what experiences were made and discover why bacteria have teeth or smiley faces…

Children's Book


For the kids in our kindergarten project we made a children's book that introduces them to the fabulous world of synthetic biology.

It was bound as a hardcover book:



For the high school students we did a comic that explains our project and the basic principles of cloning.

The book and the comic were submitted to the Community page.

Clay Animation Video

We made a Clay Animation Movie that introduces synthetic biology and gives a quick overview of our project. By means of this video, we want to spread knowledge and raise awareness of important topics in synthetic biology. When talking to our families and friends, we realized that many people have insufficient background information on the possibilities given by biotechnology. Therefore, we decided to make a video, which explains promising chances of actual research issues.

iGEM Crowdfunding Platform

Without good financing, the best project ideas cannot be brought into action. However, during our own attempts to reach out to sponsors, we realized that it is quite complicated to persuade companies to support an iGEM team. We talked about this to other teams and learned that they experienced similar problems. In order to make the financial start easier for the future generations of iGEM Teams, we tried to establish crowdfunding for iGEM-Teams in Europe. Crowdfunding uses the dynamic possibilities of the web 2.0. A team that wants to get money presents its idea on a central website, which is available to every user of the World Wide Web. Sponsors (which can be individuals or companies) can have a look at the project, can see whether other companies are already supporting the idea and are able to demand certain gain, if the project is able to proceed in the future and/or meets their interest. We decided to approach an already existing, and rising network for crowdfunding in Germany by the name of Startnext.

They agreed to help us building up a crowdfunding website with their existing infrastructure, which is solely dedicated to projects from iGEM. This could really mean a quantum leap for the funding situation of future iGEM teams! Please have a look at our already existing crowdfunding site.

Our long-term aim is to raise a democratic concept within the science community as the general public can support their topics of interest. As example, research projects in rare diseases could be supported more from an affected minority which otherwise might not be promoted due to economic reasons. This gives the individual person more possibility to take part in actual research.

Day of Science at the research centre Garching

Each year the research centre in Garching, the main science campus of the TU München and other scientific organisations situated here, organizes an open day. Interested people in science come to Garching and get an insight into science from basic research up to the development of promising future high tech applications. The iGEM Team 2011 also participated by putting up a poster, presenting the project and answering the visitors' questions. It was great to see so many people interested in our project and iGEM.

Parliament of Bavaria

We will be given the chance to talk to Bernd Sibler, the head of the comission for university, research and culture of the State Parliament of Bavaria (Bayerischer Landtag). We will be able to present our project and iGEM to him. Furthermore, we will discuss the chances, which the competition provides, as well as the problems that are raised by synthetic biology. We are confident to make our point about the impact of iGEM on students and their understanding of research and hope that we will be able to increase political awareness for this great competition and synthetic biology in Germany.

List of Projects

During brainstorming to find a project idea, we found that a lot of teams before us already had brilliant ideas so we put together a list of the project for the iGEM competitions 2004-2010:

PDF1 and PDF2. Unfortunately we were not able to translate the complete list in time.