The UNAM-Genomics Mexico team's project "Hydrobium etli" engaged with the ideal of tying most aspects of the human sphere in the Human Practices. On the one hand, we decided to mix art and science with our special art exhibit Bio-sintetizarte, as a way of showing people's perceptions on synthetic biology, their concerns, their critiques, their hopes and their hypes, embodied in the artists' works that are being presented in la casa de la ciencia museum from September the 30th to October the 28th. On the other hand, we pursued the ideal of appplying our potential developments on the ground, and made a visit to Cuatzoquetingo, a rural community in the southern state of Guerrero, to learn about the necessities of the community, how could we aim to solve them, and how could we accomodate our potential products to the tradition and cultural settings we were presented in Cuatzo. These human practices helped us to place our project's goals and aims on the right spot, taking into consideration that science is not an isolated activity, one that carries a heavy load of feelings on the lay person, and that cannot be simply offered as-is without consideration of the status quo of the communities that ultimately might take advantage of its benefits. We hope that the description of both projects is as fascinating to you as they were for us to organize, and that you'll learn as much from the human and social dimension of science as we did.
RESULTS AND PERSPECTIVES
- Through the Bio-Sintetizarte art exhibition we have achieved to creatively communicate scientific concepts to a broad public. Something very importat is, that we are not settling for the usual scientific discourse but we are creating a reflection of scientists, artists, and the general public on Synthetic Biology.
- We have managed to create an effective interaction between the Biological Sciences and the Social Sciences, thus resulting in an integrative and exhaustive approach to convey a project like Hydrobium etli.
- We gave our 2011 iGem project the precise social dimension by analysing the particularities of our country's social and economical context.
The development of a set of tools that will help to work Synthetic Biology in Rhizobial species goes beyond the sole fact that we will be facilitating the our scientific community with biological items to use the standarized iGEM philosophy. We are talking about changing the paradigm with which science is made in our country. The Center for Genome Sciences is one of the highest research centers in Mexico regarding to molecular biology and the genomics. This center has also been characterized by the central attention towards the research of the symbiotic bacteria Rhizobium etli; by putting at the scientific community grasp the use of a whole new set of engineering tools to work in this organism, we will be changing the way many scientists work in our country: The view of the biology as a set of pieces that one can assemble and disassemble at will to obtain novel functions.