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Human Practices: Exploratorium

Teaching Synthetic Biology to the General Public: Usually the general public relates Synthetic Biology (or commonly known as Biotechnology) with the current ethical issue of Genetically Modified Organism within the food that we consume every day. The 2013 UCSF iGEM team wanted to change the perspective many have toward synthetic biology by introducing the basic ideas of Synthetic Biology in an after dark event at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The Exploratorium is a museum dedicated to various science related exhibits aimed to teach and inspire learning to its guests. The night event is an 18 and older event that approximately 4-5 thousand people attend every first Thursday of the month. Each event revolves around a unique theme, and the theme when we presented was “Transformations”. Transformations ranged from origami folding, to metamorphosis, to ice cutting, and our focus was on “Transformations in cells”. In accordance with the theme, our team presented information involving the central dogma of DNA and basic in-vitro transformation in order to show the benefits of synthetic biology and the many applications it can have in the future.