Team:The Citadel-Charleston/HumanPractices


Untitled Document

     Engaging communities is an important part of the IGEM experience, and The Citadel team actively pursued connections with both local neighbors and our fellow teams over the course of the summer.


Downtown DNA Event

     Early on the morning of June 6, 2010 the three members of The Citadel team set up a stall at the farmers’ market in downtown Charleston, SC. We had no produce to sell. Instead, we came with a demonstration of everyday science and a determination to inspire our friends and neighbors.  Our marketing division devised two clever strategies for gaining people's attention:

1.         give away cookies and "petri dish Jell-O"
2.         post an enormous sign offering everyone “Free DNA!”.

     Inspired by projects from the DIYbio community, our team offered a basic biology experiment to patrons of the Farmer's Market. Visitors to our table were invited to extract DNA from strawberries using store bought products available in every household. Young children, in particular, enjoyed the cookies, while parents, grandparents and others enjoyed the opportunity to ask us questions about iGEM, the chemical reactions of our experiment, GMOs, science, education, and more. A highly diverse group of people visited our stall, including middle school teachers, postgraduate researchers, kindergarteners, market vendors, and at least one very curious homeless person. The questions they asked often surprised us; we had   not expected to field questions ranging from the most basic to highly specialized all within the same day. The messages we conveyed to our visitors were simple:

1.         Science and engineering are not solely the domain of professionals, but              can be pursued in everyday life.
2.         Synthetic biology, an emerging discipline that integrates many fields of              science, engineering, and information technology, asks important              questions and offers unique, exciting opportunities for invention and              creativity.
3.         iGEM is an example of young people who are inspired and driven to              innovate.

     The Downtown DNA Event was a great success. We made contact with hundreds of many interesting people and were able to share our interest in synthetic biology with them.  We hope to do this again and  encourage other teams to find a means for interacting with their local communities as we have.

     If you are interested in performing the simple and rewarding DNA extraction we demoed at the Charleston Farmer's market, or if you would like to host an event of your own, we have provided a copy of the handout we distributed at the event. It gives instructions for the setup and completion of the extraction. Click on the image below for a larger version.


iGEM Surveys

     In addition to community outreach, our team participated in three surveys hosted by other iGEM teams.  Look below for a brief summary of these surveys, and please follow the links to learn more about these teams and their human practice projects:

  1. Mexico-UNAM-CINESTAV circulated a survey focused on the legal issues at the heart synthetic biology.  Engineering in a space where nature has provided many of the tools is a unique legal challenge, and the questions of intellectual property and patent rights have yet to be decided.  UNAM Mexico is working to address these questions.  
  2. METU_TURKEY_SOFTWARE designed an intra-iGEM survey to determine user's opinions of the Registry of Standard Biological Parts, with the aim of improving and updating the means by which teams acquire and submit parts. .