Human Practice : Biosafty Issues


As our project is all about genetically engineered vegetables and plant/food-derived siRNAs, transgenic food security is the prior issue on our checking list. Several methods are proposed for related issues.


Unlike all the traditional transgenic food which focus on expression and accumulation of certain small chemicals or proteins of clinical application, our project is based on the idea of gene silencing or repressing through direct regulation on the DNA level by siRNA. A general assessment of other potential targets of our siRNA on Mouse/ Homo sapiens genome will be assessed. Since whether the potential targets belong to coding sequences along with tissue/ organ/ period specific problems, as well as hereditary variation problems (if we aim for mass production of our vegetables) are to be considered, it’s almost a new project on bioinformatics/





Human Practice : Communication And Public Awareness

GET STARTED: 2011 China Meet-up

The iGEM team, Nanjing China, got started two months before the 2011 iGEM China Meet-up in University of Science and Technology of China with great enthusiasm and a bunch of ideas. The team members wanted to have fun and explore into modern biological technology which goes far beyond college textbooks, a real scientific research. The idea of synthetic biology and iGEM competition, along with projects carried out by former iGEM teams, have provided us with an excellent resource for gaining knowledge not only of splendid ideas from various research areas, but also of advanced technology applied to solve the problems. During the meeting, students and instructor from former iGEM teams in China paid a great effort promoting the spirit of concerns for biosecurity. They also shared practical tips for the competition.



To promote the idea of synthetic biology and the iGEM competition, we made presentations on academic saloons held for undergraduate students and teachers. Because it’s the first time that any team from Nanjing University has ever taken part in this competition, we want to trigger the merging of future iGEMers.


A saloon was first held on June 2, 2012, where our team member Chen Jiabao first gave a brief introduction of iGEM competition to the chief faculty members and students in our department. Actually before this saloon, starting from 2011 autumn, we had visited some major laboratories in our department presenting previous iGEM competitions. We were very excited about being the first iGEM team representing NJU, and also proposed some ideas of the project we want to compete. We showed proposals in different aspects of biology research so that faculty in our department could decide which they were interested in, which could be carried out on the basis of available facilities, and which could be qualified to receive financial support. And our job partly encouraged the establishment of the other team in our school, too.




One thing of what’s great about taking part in iGEM is that we make new friends and get together for new ideas just like we are in a big family. We meet with the other three teams in Nanjing to talk about progress of each team and discuss about solutions if any team encounters a problem. We had great time getting to know each team and each individual student at the same time. Also, on September 20, 2012, our team was invited over by the two iGEM teams from Southeast University (SEU), Nanjing, China, to visit their campus and introduce our project to students in SEU.




On September 21, 2012, we held a special academic saloon on the very topic of iGEM and synthetic biology, as well as presenting our project as we were close to the Asia Regional. It turned out a great success. Our audiences were very interested in our project and some of their questions were vital to improving our project and presentation. We also invited iGEM team from SEU and an exchange student from America background in biochemistry and microbiology to introduce their projects, so as to give our audience more information and help broaden their view when they consider being an iGEMer in the future.





During 2012 summer, we encouraged other students to learn about our project by encouraging them to observe or join our experiment. Instead of holding lectures for them, we decided to introduce to them one by one whenever someone was interested in having a look at our lab and our work. We thought it’s a better idea because they could decide how long to stay themselves which was more practical especially when you consider the actual condition during an annual summer holiday. And by having such private conversation it’s easier for them to develop deeper understanding towards our project.