Last year, as Human Practice activity, we, five Japanese teams, sent out questionnaires to know how people think about biotechnology. (For more detailed information, please click here. From its result, we know that the public has little information on synthetic biology and gene recombination technology. (Fig1,2)
Fig1.Q-When shopping, do you buy "not genetically modified food”?- Avoidance index is an average when Always buy is 4 points, Tend to buy is 3 points, Hardly mind is 2points, and Not mind is 1point.
Fig2.Q-Have you ever heard the word, "Synthetic biology"?- This is comparison between college student and the other.
The following were done to improve this situation.
, held at Tokyo Academic Park in November every year, is the largest science communication event in Japan. Participants are kids and parents, students, companies, researchers and so on.
We took part in it with two other Japanese teams last year after the end of 2010 iGEM competition. In this big meeting, we exhibited posters that we used in World Jamboree and gave an account of iGEM and our project to not only specialists but also the public by using new posters. This was also good chance to explain synthetic biology to the public.
Bio EXPO/ nano Bio EXPO
the alumni of TMU
We told about iGEM to alumni and alumnae of TMU (Tokyo Metropolitan University) and exhibited posters. Many people from not only the Biology Department but also other Departments were interested in our activity.
"Open Campus" of TMU
In Japan, “Open Campus” means the college’s open day for high school students (usually in July or August). At this event, we exhibited posters and explained what is iGEM, gene recombination technology and our project to high school students. (The result shows, high school students tend to receive gene recombination technology “friendly”.) Some of them were enthusiastic about iGEM activity.
Science education for children
As a teacher, we participated in special “science-class” which was held by Leave a Nest, a company promoting biology education. In this class, elementary school students and junior high school students did experiments selected for science education for children (i.e. easy to understand and fun).
We charged ourselves with giving a lecture on synthetic biology and prepared for an easy experiment, through which children can understand everything, including DNA, is made of atoms and molecules. After that, we gave brief explanation of synthetic biology. Official site is here (only Japanese page).
Opening meetings with other groups
There are many other groups beside our iGEM group, for example, “Formula Racing Team”, “Converted EV”. We have opened meetings regularly to exchange ideas with these teams. These meetings are good opportunities to explain iGEM and our teams to students from other fields (mechanical, electrical engineering, for instance).
2011 JAPAN Meetup
We participated Japan meetup three times, in Tokyo University, Kyoto University, and Tokyo Metroporitan University that we hosted. The details is here. We exchanged our own views and deepened our own visions. It is dependable that we could extend our knowledge and utilize each project.