Human Practice

We decided to put on line the various answers we had from the survey. However as some team members requested, those answers are anonymous.

Some of them were in English, others were in French. For the French ones, translations will come during the summer.

First Survey

A/ What was your reaction when you learned that the project was engineering tadpoles?

I thought to myself that it would be something pretty complicated, in terms of ethics, and subsequently, in terms of communicating the project with non-initiated people (like my mom who is vegie and strongly in favor of animals rights). When earing BS on tadpoles had already been done, I felt a little better. But what disturbs me the most is not the fact we modify these animals, it's the fact that, mostly for juridical (and practical) reasons, we will have to kill many of them regardless of their health...

My reaction was that it is a great animal model since it can swim and the delivery to areas to be tested woulb an easy thing as well as effective.

I was excited because nobody in this competition has already used this chassis.

I was quite excited when we realised we could do a cool project in tadpoles. I started being a little more worried about what we were doing, and whether we were doing something completely unethical, when we started talking about putting adrenaline in the water to make the tadpoles more excited for our game. I didn’t realise at first, only when I thought about it a little later. That’s when I decided there was no way we could add adrenaline in the medium just to make the tadpoles move faster and make our game more fun.

I was curious about working on tadpoles, and in the beginning didn’t think about them as about the “real animals” but more as about the “model or lab animals”. And then when we started to discuss details of experiments, I began to consider the ethic side of our work. I think it’ll be a great experience and a step forward for the iGem competition, if only we keep in mind respect and consideration for animals.

First I was a bit surprised.

My first reaction was “technical” : I was (and am!) afraid because it was a complex biological system compared to that of a bacteria, so we can’t control, predict the impact of what we’re doing on every cell/organ of the animal(I mean the “secondary effects” are less predictable), it’s more difficult to quantify all the reactions and get all the parameters for modeling.

Ethically speaking, it was that I should read something related to ethics!

As for me the interrogations I had were completely equivalent to those raised by the use of laboratory mice; the fact that the tests made upon them would be genetical modification didn't change anything; they won't be more "tortured". Moreover, after our project, we won't let them live in nature, so we won’t be directly confronted to environmental questions concerning the consequences of alteration of the "natural". Nevertheless, while imagining our project being really used as a whole, we would have to let those frogs go into nature. That’s why I as well as the rest of the team felt all concerned about the problem of how not letting them exchange their modified genes in a way we couldn’t control anymore. Therefore, we came up with the idea of the chastity belt.

My first reaction was that it was going to be impossible, especially in the iGEM time-scale. The second is that is is a very cool system, and that is actually workable. Ethic came later on.

It was very exciting and challenging. Working on multidisciplinary organisms allows us to design more complex systems but it also adds a level of complexity to the project.

At the beginning I was disappointed. I wanted rather to work on a project about Cancerous cells or something directly related to Human diseases, because it seemed to me more useful that the project involves human health. When I went a little bit deep in the project I have become proud of it. One because it involves eukaryotic cells and it is original. Second because it will really contribute in science and future work thanks to the fundamental patterns of the project.

Excitant ! Comme passer à une étape supérieure, augmenter l’échelle d'expérience. L'enseignement scolaire m'a limité aux expériences bactériennes, levures, cellules... Ici on "s'attaque" à quelque chose de visuellement plus parlant, donc plus intéressant. La taille de la grenouille offre des perspectives intéressantes dans le fait que l'on puisse réaliser des expériences directement détectables à l'oeil nu. Et puis la grenouille est un animal donc on se rapproche du modèle humain, éthiquement ce ne sont plus les mêmes enjeux, les mêmes responsabilités donc c'est d'autant plus intéressant.

J'ai tout de suite pensé que ce serai plus intéressant que de travailler sur des bactéries. Au niveau éthique ça ne me pose pas spécialement de problèmes car les têtards sont “peu évolués” et on en voit des milliers mourir dans les mares chaque été. Je pense que le manque de compassion est du au fait qu'ils n'interagissent pas avec nous.

J'étais excité car l'avantage de travailler avec des têtards plutôt que des bactéries c'est qu'on aura un résultat visuel, on n'a pas besoin d'attendre une machine qui va nous dire si on a réussi a surproduire une protéine ou autre, on croit toujours plus facilement ce qu on voit.

Ca m'a rappelé des bons souvenirs du labo de watchfrog/Pollet ou j'avais travailler.

Plus sérieusement: contrairement a Pollet ou watchfrog nos têtards seront partiellement transgénique, ce que je veux essayer de dire c'est que leurs descendants ne porteront pas la modification. Je pense que ce point est fondamental dans notre approche, surtout vis a vis du public, déjà on ne relâchera pas les bestioles car c'est interdit, mais si ça arriverait il n'y aurait aucun risque de prolifération des gènes mutants, bien qu'ils soient inoffensifs.

Très enthousiaste. iGEM et la biologie synthétique en générale, ont toujours été centrés sur les bactéries. Notre projet pourrait déclencher quelque chose pour la suite du concours et être le précurseur à de nombreux projets.

Très enthousiaste! Partir sur un nouveau modèle qui va nous permettre de faire des mécanismes de communication cellulaire beaucoup plus complexes, avec d'autres applications car c'est un modèle différent du modèle bactérien (ex : on peut mettre les têtard dans une cage dans une rivière, tout en étant sûr qu'ils restent dans la cage, ce qui n'est pas faisable avec les bactéries), tout en ayant la possibilité de faire quelquechose de jamais fait, et donc d'ouvrir la voie pour d'autre qui voudront utiliser ce système plus tard :)

I think it’s normal, I mean there are already many transgenic multicellular organisms that have been used for fundamental research and also for industry. Since tadpoles are not that usual as for example plants, for me it was exciting to know that we will work with frogs, I have never worked with them and it is also a good opportunity to work with this model organism which is widely studied in developmental research.



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