In order to try to approach synthetic biology to the public, as part of the iGEM Valencia team Human Practices’ schedule, some members from our team got involved in the activities organized at Metrovalencia on Saturday September the 22nd, in order to celebrate the European Car-Free Day. As we did in Cheste, we tried to explain both parents and children what synthetic biology is, by the means of a variety of enjoyable workshops.
Introduce synthetic biology to children, we prepared different activities. First of all, children had to paint each part of DNA molecule. The external pentose-phosphate skeleton and each nitrogen base of the double helix had to be filled in with different colours. Finished this, they had to match the bases’ letters in the drawing by sticking them. Furthermore, they had to take two DNA chains to construct and paint different imaginary animals from the parts they were given, with new functions and capabilities. With that activity we tried to explain them that synthetic biology tries to give new phenotypes to organisms through the design of new combinations of genetic parts.
While the children were having good time learning, we tried to transmit their parents some notions on synthetic biology and an introduction to iGEM and our project –the contest, the design of the project, the genetic circuit…-. Surprisingly, adults showed quite interest on the explanation. We received more questions than we expected during and after the explanation.
In conclusion, our activities had a great success among the public –and the event organization staff. Both children and parents learned a bit about the basis of synthetic biology, where can it lead us in a close future, and the importance of iGEM in the context of this emerging discipline.