Human Practice Overview
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Integrated Human Practice

Throughout our work, we were in a dialogue with several experts and the public to constantly fine-tune our project in accordance with recent findings, improving methods and especially in consideration of potential biosafety problems when working with unnatural bases. Early contacts with experts in the field motivated us to host a workshop on “Expanding the Genetic Code” to facilitate discussions on current issues related to our topic. We incorporated these insights by submitting a comprehensive scientific review concerning biosafety issues in iGEM and the science in general. In addition, we created a report on Chances and Implications of an Expanded Genetic Code, where we interviewed experts in philosophy, religion, and different sciences as well as the public to develop practical guidelines for handling research on unnatural bases. Learning about the opinions and concerns of the public lead us to also cooperate with companies like Merck. The meetings enabled us to receive important feedback to integrate into the project, allowing us to improve every aspect of the work with unnatural bases and non-canonical amino acids.

Public Engagement

Throughout our project, we explained our topic to the public and the scientific community on multiple occasions and engaged in fruitful discussions. These included iGEM meetups and public events throughout Europe. Furthermore, we raised awareness for the chances of synthetic biology by cooperating with various initiatives and programs, including the “6th CeBiTec Pupils Academy”, “Teutolab Biotechnology”, the street science festival “GENIALE” and through collaboration with the biotechnological student’s initiative btS e.V. By doing so, we could convince them of the enormous potential of synthetic biology and to motivate students to pursue studies in the field of synthetic biology.