Team:University College London/HumanPractice



Will the world be a safe place if we make biology easy to engineer? How do the lessons of the past inform the discussion going forward? Think beyond just convincing people that 'synthetic biology is good'.

Inspired by these quotes from the iGEM website, this year we set out to ‘challenge’ public perceptions about genetically modified organisms and test the boundaries of access to the tools of Synthetic Biology by helping the London Biohackers build their own BioBrick - the first "Public" BioBrick. We believe projects such as ours will only become realistic and widely accepted if access to the technology is increased.

Plastic Republic raises a number of ethical, legal and social issues, which we have used as the basis for our Meeting of the Young Minds debate proposal, an exciting "speed-debating" evening and an investigation into the legal issues regarding our plastic island.

We have also planned a radio show, which will involve interviews with international teams giving people a sense of the global iGEM community and the breadth and diversity of synthetic biology projects.

In addition, we are working with Carina Tran, an architectural student from the UCL Bartlett, faculty of the Built Environment who is particularly interested in how plastics can be recycled in terms of being used as a constructive material. We hope such collaboration will help us to develop a better project, exploring iGEM in an architectural context.

Last but not least, we raised funding for all these human practice activities via crowdfunding, and wrote a guide to successful crowdfunding campaigns for iGEM teams.