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Team:ColegioFDR Peru/Human Practices

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Team:ColegioFDR Peru

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Elementary School Education

On September 15, three team members of the Human Practices department had a discussion with the teachers from elementary school in order to implement a new science curriculum, linking it to the concepts treated in iGEM and our project. Prior to the activity, students had some basic idea in terms of the shape of DNA helix. We decided that this type of community work was extremely important as it allowed us to spread awareness of our project as well as intrigue the young students with concepts that would hopefully spark an interest in the sciences as they grow up.

After performing several classes, based on the performances of the elementary students, it was highly suggested that the curriculum and the lessons were successfully conducted. Although some students were not able to meet our expectation in the end, most students, about 85%, understood the most basic aspects of the concepts; students were able to answer the conceptual questions successfully more often towards the end of the lesson. Because they were simply elementary students, the team could not fully teach the topic of synthetic biology nor the science behind our project; however we were able to hopefully direct them towards being interested in science-based activities later in their learning lives.

 

iGEM Club at Colegio FDR

Although we are registered as a science team, in our school, we have promoted ourselves as students from science team and science club, as we wanted to communicate with nearby communities & organizations. Our team did not only focus on solving the problem of degrading feathers but also focused on how we could promote the importance of, and hopefully students’ interest in, synthetic biology at the school. In order to introduce the importance of the project and synthetic biology and raise the awareness, the team has participated in various club seminars and fairs.

 

Synthetic Biology Survey

For this year’s project, the team conducted a survey about public’s thoughts on synthetic biology, focusing on the awareness, integration of science in the community, as well the ethical implications of such. The survey was conducted in eight different countries, from four different continents: Peru, South Korea, United States of America, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, and China.


 The complete list of questions is as follows:

- Have you ever heard of the term "synthetic biology"?
- Synthetic biology is the practice of genetically engineering organisms to alter their features. Do you think this practice could benefit humanity?
- Are you comfortable with the idea of editing an organism’s DNA?
- Do you think it should it be done?
- Should the country pass regulations that facilitate or restrict this process?
- Do you think there is enough interaction between science and the general public in Peru?
- We are creating a project focused on genetically engineering a bacteria that degrades feathers. The newly designed bacteria would be reduce the amount of feather waste, -ultimately reducing the infection rate of chicken diseases. Do you think modifying bacteria for such purpose is ethically correct?
- Do you think these bacteria should be released into the Peru community if they were proven to be non-harmful against humans?
- What is your stance on the prevalent ethical issues surrounding many of these implications (specifically in medicine, agriculture, or related subjects)?

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