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Team:BJ101HS/Human Practices



Overview



The Human Practice program of our iGEM project has 8 major steps.



First, through our experiences of daily life, we observed that many mothers around us had difficulties when feeding their babies with natural human breast milk. We wished to solve this problem, by creating an artificial milk product to replace the natural one.

Second, we tried to make sure the problem that we are going to fix is a wide serious problem, we designed a questionnaire and spread it to the society. According to the results that we’ve received, majority of parents face a lot of problems and have variety of concerns during the feeding period, which bring them huge mental and physical pressures.

Third, in order to figure out whether the society will accept our product, we investigated people’s attitude and expectations towards our product. We designed questionnaire to survey the people of the society, and interviewed pregnant mothers individually. Majority of the respondents claimed that they would accept our product, and they also provided us with valuable critics and suggestions.

Fourth, in order to confirm the feasibility of our product from professional point of views, we interviewed the expert in this field. We interviewed gynaecologists and obstetricians, and they confirmed that artificial breast milk would be effective, and would be a better solution than the current powdered milk. We also interviewed the CEO of turtletree lab, a Singaporean diary industry, who confirmed that the artificial breast milk would be very promising in the current diary market.

Fifth, we designed plasmids, conducted experiments, and create a product.

Sixth, we made sure that all substances that we used during our product creating, and the final product itself are all safe and qualified.

Seventh, after the invention of our product, we were eager to seek for improvements. We interviewed and discussed with an expert of diary production of China Agricultural University. She provided many valuable suggestions, and later we practiced them carefully.

Eighth, after we complete our creation, we wished to introduce this interesting field of study to people. We established a sythetic biology club to disseminate our interest and knowledge to out school mates and the public.

What we have done in HP

1.Noticed a problem of
breast feeding in
daily life

2.Confirm that the
problem was a
common one

Introduction

In order to confirm the necessity of our project, we designed our questionnaire and spread it to the society through internet. The questionnaire mainly asked the identity of the respondents, the problems they met during the suckling period, and their attitude towards the artificial breast milk.
We promised all the respondents and ensured that all results are collected anonymously, and all the answers will only be used for the research purposes of this artificial breast milk project particularly.


Analysis:


There were 606 respondents in total. Among them, 383 people are females, which was 63% of the total; and 224 people are males, which was 37% of the total respondents. After they indicated their gender, they will be divided into two groups: female group, group 1, and male group, group 2.


The female respondents, group 1, will move to the second question, which asked them about which period they are currently in. Among all the female respondents, 40% of them has passed the suckling period, 35% of them are unmarried yet, 15% of them are experiencing the suckling period, 5% of them have married, but don’t have any kids, and 5% of them are pregnant now.


There will be another round of dividing. Those people from group 1 who have experienced the suckling period were divided into group 1-1, and those who haven’t were divided into group 1-2, which jumped to the 9th question. Group 1-1 will move to the third question, which asked them about how they feed their babies. Among them, 54% reflected that they will feed their babies with breast milk and powered milk/milk (after ablactation), 39% responded that they will feed their babies by using the breast milk and the powered milk at the same time, and 7% people in group 1-1 responded that they feed their babies with powdered milk only. These 7% people were divided into group 1-1-2, and the rest members of group 1-1 were divided into group 1-1-1.
According to the results of this question, it can be concluded that most of people are still feeding their kids by relying on the natural breast milk.


Members of group 1-1-1 moved to the 4th question, which asked them about the problems they faced during the feeding period. Among these 194 people, 60.82% had the problem of breast distending pain, 53.61% of them were not able to provide their babies with enough breast milk, 45.88% members’ nipples were chapped, 41.24% of them faced the problem of irregular feeding time, 29.9% of them faced the problem of irregular feeding location, and 22.16% of them concerned about the unsafe reservation of the milk. Only 6.19% of them responded that they met no problems. The result of this question gives us a clear message, that majority of the females in the modern world are facing many serious problems during their suckling period, which need to be fixed.


Then they moved to the 5th question, which asked the members of group 1-1-1 about their concerns during the suckling period. According to their reflections, 58.25% of them concerned about their diet, 65.98% of them were afraid of using medicines during this period, and only 15.46% group member replied that they had no concerns. In addition to choosing options that we provided, 2.06% of them also listed their own particular concerns, including concerns about feeding babies in public places.
According to the results of this question, in addition to the actual problems, parents are also concern about their living style, which may bring them huge mental stresses (this will be talked afterwards).


Now let’s talk about group 2. After they indicated their male gender, they will jump to the 6th question, which asked them about which period they are currently in. Among these male respondents, 50% had married and had had children, 44% were not married, and 6% of them had married with no kids. Those 50% people who had not married were divided into group 2-2 and jumped to the 9th question, and the rest of 50% people who had married was divided into group 2-1, which will move to the 7th question.


The 7th question asked the male respondents about the problems that they faced during their kids’ feeding period. By analyzing the results of this question, it can be concluded that male fathers also have to deal with series problems during their kids’ suckling period. Among all the members of group 2-1, 57.66% responded that they concerned about the irregular feeding time, 52.25% concerned about the irregular feeding environment, and 45.06% concerned about that the breast milk’s reservation method, which might cause the breast milk to go bad.


Both group 1-1-1 and group 2-1 came to the 8th question, which asked them about they and their love ones’ mental & physical pressure during the feeding period. According to the feedback, 28.85% of the respondents felt depressed, 29.51% of them felt uncomfortable physically, as many as 65.90% of them responded that they realized their irregular daily routine, and only 15.74% of them responded that they had no pressure. Due to the concerns about their living style and lots of inconveniences during the suckling period, both mothers and fathers are under huge mental pressure during this hard time.


Finally, all groups of respondents came to the 9th question, which was the starting question of the part that inquired the respondents about their current understanding and attitude towards the artificial breast milk. The 9th question asked them whether they had ever heard of the artificial breast milk. 71% of them chose “no” while other 29% of the respondents replied “yes”. Then they were asked about whether they thought that the practice of using artificial milk would be feasible. 68% of the respondents replied “yes” while the other 32% of them said “no”.
According to the answers of this question, although most people responds that they haven’t heard of the artificial breast milk before, majority of answerers still responded that they believe it would work. This suggests that in the future we have to continually spread knowledges about our product to the public.
The final dividing happened here. Those who chose “yes” were divided into group 3-1 and jumped to the 12th question. Those who believed that artificial breast milk is infeasible were divided into group 3-2, and then were asked to provide reasons, which is question 11.

investigate the acceptablity


Among all respondents who chose “no” in the previous question, 26.04% of them chose no because of the ethical problems, 71.35% of them chose no because they concerned about the safety of the product, 21.88% of them said no because they concerned about that the product might be expensive. 24.48% of them also provided their own additional reasons, mostly concerned about whether it’s possible to produce the milk that can function as well as the actual breast milk. These are all problems that we need to consider for the improvements of our product.


The 12th question asked the respondents about whether they thought that the artificial breast milk would be a better option than the powdered milk. 64% of them chose “yes” and 36% of them chose “no”. This shows that the social acceptance level of our product is relatively high.
Then comes to the last question. All of the answerers were asked: “if possible, would you choose artificial breast milk for your children?”


Among all the respondents, 39% chose “yes”, 25% chose “no”, and there are 36% of the answerers who replied “it depends.” We further questioned those who chose this option.


We generally divided their answer into five major reasons: when they are unable to feed natural breast milk (108 people), when our product has an appropriate price (15 people), when the safety of our product is secured (41 people), when we proved the high quality of our product (17 people), and when they turn to willing to buy our product, according to the actual situation (9 people).


We also further questioned those 151 people who directly selected “no, I won’t choose this product”, asked them to provide reasons. We divided their answers into 4 major reasons: have safety concerns towards our product (54 people), it’s not necessary to buy our product (40 people), prefer the natural food (12 people), and believe that our product is not nutritive enough (3 people).
Apparently, in order to make more people to accept our product, we need to make sure the expectations listed above is satisfied as many as possible.

conclusion:

To sum up, our questionnaire survey had two purposes: investigating the hardship of the natural feeding process and investigating public’s expectations towards our product.
For the first purpose, the results of our survey reflect that both mothers and fathers will have to deal with enormous problems during the suckling period, and they also have a lot of concerns about daily living activities and behaviors since these things might harm their babies’ health. These inconveniences and disadvantages due to the natural feeding process bring huge mental pressure to the new parents. The existence of these problems proved the necessity of our product, which is a solution towards all problems listed above (solving these problems that bring by the natural way using the artificial way).
For the second purpose, the respondents provided us with valuable suggestions. From questions 9 to 13, many respondents expressed their concerns towards the product that we are going to create. Such as concerns about the food security and concerns about the expensiveness of our product. We thank for these critical replies, because these answers provide the direction for our future improvements.

acknowledgement:

The tool we used making the questionnaire:


Interview Pregnant Mothers

The identities of interviewees.

Mother of Yezi: This mother is about 32 years old and has only one baby, about 3-moths-old. She feeds her baby regularly and provided breast milk as much as the baby needs. Generally, she feeds the baby at home once 2-3 hours. When she isn't at home, she will pump her breastmilk by using a breast pump and store it in bottles, which are then be put in the fridge. However, the baby doesn't like breastmilk to be put in the refrigerator as it will be foul after frozen. Maternity leaves only four months, but the baby needs to be feed for about six months. After six months, the baby couldn't have powdered milk plus staple food.
Mother Juanjuan is 35-year-old and has twins as her first birth, who are about three months old already. She usually feeds her baby at home every 2 hours. Babies are fed one to two times at night. There are also mother of Shishi and mother of Jiajia.

The purpose

1. Are there any physiological problems such as breast swelling and pain during breast-feeding
2. Problems in daily life
3. Worries of mothers


Special questions

For lactating mothers

Q1)Do you only have one baby in your family? How old is the child?
Q2)How long have you been in breastfeeding time?
Q3)Do you feel pain when you are breastfeeding your child, and do you have enough breastmilk to feed your child?
Q4)If you have pain in breastfeeding, how would you solve it?
Q5)Do you have problems like unregular-feeding time, unfixed feeding place, and unsafe storing ways which are affecting your everyday life?
Q6)What other problems do you have during feeding?
Q7)What was your first concern when you heard about "synthetic breast milk"?
Q8)What's the difference between synthetic breast milk, breast milk, and milk powder?
Q9)Do you think synthetic breast milk will solve your problem in the future?
Q10)Will you use this product for your children?

Interview results

Yezi’s mother:
She said that it sounds like a good thing to try. She thinks it would be better than powdered milk. It's easier for children to get inflamed and malnutrition if they frequently drink the powdered milk. The stool of children who drink powdered milk would form earlier than children who drink breast milk. The nutrition of powdered milk is not as high as that of breast milk. Domestic powdered milk has safety problems, while foreign powdered milk is mostly imported, and because of the epidemic situation, its safety cannot be guaranteed absolutely, so it is still struggling to choose powdered milk. When the breast is experiencing swelling pain, the situation on nipple is not very horrible. But the milk will be blocked, leading to fever and mastitis. If the baby does not suck the milk, milk siltation will occur. And when it happens, it feels like a heavy stone is pressing your chest. Last time she went straight to the hospital and was cured by a long tube. Her body temperature reached 39 degree Celsius that time.
Her worries towards artificial breast milk is about its security: whether it can meet the standard and whether the nutrition is abundant. She believes that breast milk can be replaced when it is inconvenient to feed and milk is insufficient. In terms of diet, she believes that greasy food can't be eaten and will change its flavor. Spicy will cause the baby to get inflamed and lead to diarrhea.



Shishi’s mother:
She worries about the difficulties of storing and the expensiveness of the artificial breast milk. Her feeding style is this: when the natural milk is abundant, she will feed her baby with natural breast milk (suckling); when the natural one is not enough, she will feed her baby with the milk that she stored; if both of those run out, she will use the powdered milk. She bought the powdered milk from Germany (mostly considering the low price). She also stated some disadvantages about the powdered milk, that it's hard for babies to suck natural breast milk, but it's easy to drink the powdered milk. Thus the babies might be fed too much.


Juanjuan's mother:
She gave birth to twins and couldn't produce enough breast milk to nurse her babies. The hospital carried out breast milk nutrition test, which could find out the nutrient composition ratio of breast milk. She chose breast milk together with goat milk powder. She chose goat milk powder because goat milk was easy to digest and children could avoid excessive internal heat. Regarding the issue of pain, she suffered pain because her nipples' skin become thinner and slightly chapped due to babies' long time sucking one month after the babies were born. She also suffered some swelling pain of milk. She paid attention to her diet. She didn't eat raw, cold and spicy food. She almost never ate fried food.



Jiajia’s mother:
She affirmed synthetic milk's value and mentioned some problems with liquid formula milk (doesn't common in China). Newborn babies could easily digest liquid formula milk, which is wetter than milk powder and has more nutrients. The composition of liquid formula milk is consistent with breast milk, too. Milk powder gives babies excessive internal heat and isn't easy to dissolve in water. As for the lactation pain, she said it hurts at first, and all mothers feel it at first, but then it gets better. She knows from the official account of Dingxiang Doctor that nothing except harmful foods, can't be eaten during pregnancy and lactation.

These mothers wish to protect their privacy, so we only got one permission to use the interview photo.


4. Analyze the feasibility from a
academic view

1.Interviewing gynaecologists
and obstetricians

Interviewer: Claire Gao, Claudia Zhao, Erich Li
>
Interviewee: MA YUN, Dongsi Maternity Hospital & WANG LI, Hepingli Hospital
>
Interview date: July 3rd, 2020.

We aim to make artificial breast milk and try to restore the ingredients of breast milk. First of all, breast milk is not only healthy but also safe for babies. The doctor advised the mother to breastfeed after birth, because breast milk is easy to digest, has rich nutrients, contains a variety of proteins, antibodies to improve the newborn baby’s immunity, and helps establish a good relationship between mother and child, so there is no need to buy milk powder outside since it is very economical. Secondly, breast milk is good for the mother's health. It can prevent postpartum hemorrhage, is conducive to the mother's postpartum recovery, and prevents galactorrhea, uterine contraction, reducing the incidence of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Secondly, the only alternative to breast milk powder on the market at present is milk powder. However, there are many of the advantages of breast milk that milk powder cannot provide. For instance, breast milk is the on-demand service, and milk powder is the on-time service. In particular, if a mother feeds a baby a milk powder, the nutrient can last for 3-4 hours in the baby and she does not need to feed anymore. This leads the result that feeding milk powder is not frequently sucked, and cannot reduce the complications. In addition, breast milk contains natural antibiotics and immunoglobulin that formula milk does not have. That is to say, formula milk powder cannot provide enough nutrients for baby. Now, the problem of breast swelling pain is very common all around the world, and mothers are difficult to adhere to or unwilling to feed babies because of the swelling pain, resulting in the lack of number of intaking and nutrients for babies. Therefore, artificial breast milk is a good choice, due to the convenient use and enough nutrients.
Although it is recommended to use breastfeeding if all conditions are met, it is also a good choice to use our research products if mothers with congenital insufficient milk and other difficult problems are disable to do that on their own. Therefore, we can see the significance of our research products.

Mr.Wang Li and Mrs.Ma Yun


Interviewing the CEO of
the diary product industry

Interviewer: Claire Gao
Interviewee: Fengru Lin, CEO of Turtletreelabs.
Interview date: September 12th, 2020.

The CEO of the turtle tree pointed out that milk is the most nutritious food in the world not only for new-born babies but also for humans at any ages.
However, cow milk, goat milk, camel milk or any kind of milk powers available on the market now are not capable to provide the full component in human milk due to their biological differences, so they grab this valuable opportunity to enter the market.
They shared that their method is to culture mammary cells in-vitro and induce their natural ability to produce all components of milk. “The most advantageous characteristic of our product, is that none of the existing products can provide full-composition, function, and flavor,” the CEO responded confidentially. Their advantages are also ours.
We can safely produce clean human-milk by inducing yeast to express homo species gene and strike the global dairy market by our innovative idea. “Global dairy market, which reached a value of $718.9 billion in 2019, are showing a moderate growth during 2020-2025,” Miss Lin said. The potential growth of the dairy market and our own competitive advantages contribute to our prosperous, profitable, and sustainable future.

We concluded:

1.Big dairy market: $718.9B
2.Competitive advantages over other milk products: human-milk and full-component
3.Sustainable growth --- environmental-friendly: need no cows and thus create NO methane contributed to global warming
4.Growth in demand: More people are cherishing about the nutrition in their food
5.Help of policy


5.conduct oue experiment



6.Confirm the safety of our creation

7.Seeking for improvements for our prodect

Interviewing experts in related fields
in China Agricultural University

Interviewers: Zoey Liu, Claire Gao
Interviewee: CHEN JINGYU, Associate Professor of China Agricultural University.
The date of interviewing:2020.8.13

The professor appreciates the creative and challenging work we did in experiments.
However, she pointed out some aspects that can be improved in our design simultaneously: If the formula milk is desired to be made, our team will not get an advantage(the saturated market, fragmented, and lack of creativity.) We are suggested to add the humanmade immunoglobulin at the same time. She claims that the immunoglobulin is generally extracted from the mothers, but it is unclear whether the function is practical for humans. In addition, she mentions another direction for the experiment: the amount of Polysaccharide, HMO (breast milk oligosaccharide), can be increased.
It is a direction that the market focuses on now and a difference between the milk and breast milk, which the milk powder doesn't contain. The importance of polysaccharides and oligosaccharides can be shown in Europe's rule: The demanded amount of Polysaccharide in milk powder. Besides these two components, the professor suggested putting lactose, metal ions, and growth factors into the nutrients we made, but it is still unclear whether there will be a protein rejection
The professor eventually emphasized a conception. Our product should be publicized by mentioning "to meet people's nutritional needs" instead of promoting the meaning of breast milk in order to avoid the arguments about ethical issues.

Future Plan:
We hope people can not only try to make polysaccharides and Hmos based on protein expression in the future, but also consider to add lactose, metal ions, and growth factors in the final products.
About the Machining process:
The professor points out that there is no best way to process dairy products. The distinctive process methods and different dosage forms can satisfy various people's demands.
However, she indicates that milk production is a better way of storing, meanwhile. We can try to produce different milk products, solid brewing powder, storable and convenient liquid milk products, nutrition + flavor, and other forms. The way to store: Pasteurization, UHT, hot drying, and a series of dairy sterilization (using UHT)
About the developments of HP It is desirable for us to visit factories and industries by observing how their assembly line works. Our types of products: Nutritionally fortified dairy (more objective); It is reasonable for us to mimic the example of developing mammary gland cells in America.
Personal attitude issue:
Due to the continuous change in the breast milk component, we can not one hundred percent restore breast milk. Simultaneously, there are loads of arguments for the products include artificial breast milk, such as artificial meat due to the ethical issue. Therefore, we need to emphasize the improvement in the nutrients in dairy products instead of pointing out the synthetic method to satisfy people's demand and avoid disagreements.
If our team eventually does not successfully make the breast milk product, the project we did can be said to manufacture a specific nutrient in breast milk in a subjective way.

Our Improvements

We interviewed the professor from Agriculture University. She pinpoints some problems that it is quite uncompetitive if we want to make formula milk due to the saturated market, fragmented audiences, and lack of creativity. Meanwhile, we are previously suggested to add the human-made immunoglobulin at the same time, but she claims that the immunoglobulin is generally extracted from the mothers. However, it is unclear whether the function is practical for humans.
In addition, she mentions another aspect for the experiment: the amount of Polysaccharide and HMO (breast milk oligosaccharide) can be increased in our products which the milk powder doesn't contain. The importance of polysaccharides and oligosaccharides can be shown in Europe's action: they demand the amount of Polysaccharide in milk powder.
Besides these two components, the professor suggested putting lactose, metal ions, and growth factors into the nutrients we made, but it is still unclear whether there will be a protein rejection phenomenon.
According to these valuable suggestions, we tried to make polysaccharides and HMO based on protein expression. And we also considered adding lactose, metal ions, and growth factors in the final products. But due to the concerns of the professor, we didn’t practice them.
The professor eventually emphasized a conception: our product should be publicized by mentioning “to meet people's nutritional needs” instead of promoting the meaning of breast milk in order to avoid the arguments about ethical issues, so we change our propaganda topic according to this suggestion.


improve for future plans
(according to the questionnaire survey)

According to the inquired questionnaire results, we find that artificial breast milk is still an uncommon product, due to the larger part of the people have not heard before. Thus, we have to promote the concept of artificial breast milk in people’s minds by advertising.
Additionally, the most important premise to make it successful is that we have to make sure people believe it and use it. The results depending on those who knew our product before show that the biggest concern about the use of artificial breast milk is safety. Ethical problems, prices, and functions are also their concerns. And although more people tend to choose artificial breast milk rather than milk powder, the result is that most people would not like to buy artificial breast milk, which shows that we have to improve our product to let people really trust it.
To solve these concerns, we can present our research process on different social platforms. It helps people to get an intuitive understanding of our product and decrease their unnecessary concerns.
Also, we need to understand the difference between the functions of artificial breast milk and breast milk and minimize the difference in our experiments. When our product are really marketed and purchased, we must figure out a way to make it as cheap as possible. This is also depending the credibility and advertisement of our product. We eager to help those mothers who can’t afford expensive powdered milk. What’s more, the results indicate that people will consider our products when they have difficult to feed and this reason also accounts for most of situations.
It shows that artificial breast milk is truly useful and essential, which makes sense to really do well and promote it.

Introducing to the public

1.Make vedio of this project

2.Make posters

3.Founded a sythetic biology club
disseminate our interest and knowledge

After we finished the invention of artificial breast milk, we wished to let more people to notice our project and to understand the idea of synthetic biology. Therefore, we created a club called “Bio Constructors” at school.
We handed in our application form in August, and we got the permission to hold activities in September. The first step is enrollment. We sent the QR code of the Club HQ to the wechat groups of students. We also sent an introduction of our club (lectures about synthetic biology knowledge, lectures about our project of iGEM 2020, demonstration of experimental equipments, and opportunities to conduct synthetic biology experiments) to those groups. Many students were attracted and joined this club.
Starting in late September, our club activities officially began. In the first lecture, we showed the overview Human Practice flow diagram and Experimental Process flow diagram of our project to the students, and explained the logic of our project. We emphasized the seriousness of the problems that the parents are currently facing, and experts’ positive attitude towards our project.

In the second lecture, we started to teach them the synthetic biology. Members of 2020 iGEM BJ101HS team became the teachers. Our course started from the chemical bases of genetic materials. And the lecture would be held once a week. By the time that this web page was written, we have held 5 lectures. We have explained them the detailed structure of chromosome, brief overview of central dogma, the specific process of transcription & translation.
We also illustrated what specific proteins (enzymes) are needed during this process. We are planning to hold a seminar next week in order to let them discuss about what they have learned and what are potential improvements.

Section of our PPT used in our lectures


The specific future teaching plan will be made base on how will these students perform in class. But generally, after 6 months, they should be able to master the amount of knowledge that enables them to become a synthetic biology freshman college student. They may even participate the iGEM competition in the next year.
Moreover, fortunately, our school has the laboratory resources. We are communicating with our school teachers and trying to get access to these laboratories. If we get permissions, we will take the members of our club to those labs, and demonstrate the experiment procedures, like PCR, Gel electrophoresis experiment, and bacterial culture.
Comparing with these 10th graders, we as predecessors can also benefit from this club experience. Our knowledges became more fixed in mind after we gave lectures about them. And the interesting questions asked by students can also inspire us to think and search for new information. For example, one day a 10th grader asked Lindsor, one of our lecturers, a question about how proteins were transported. Since the knowledges that he learned didn’t cover this question, he searched for this after the lecture. Then he found the answer in a book Campbell Biology, that microtubules and kinesin & dynein proteins on it will carry vesicles that contain proteins to move. The club activities are mutual beneficial experiences for the listeners and the predecessors.
Also, surprisingly, we learned the iGEM team of Nanjing Foreign Language School had the same idea. Thus, we contacted each other, and decided to held a virtual meetup activity and to exchange our ideas and experiences.

Holding online meetups

As explained in the “scientific communication” part, we created a club at school in order to disseminate the synthetic biology. Surprisingly, we learned the iGEM team of Nanjing Foreign Language School had the same idea!
Thus, we contacted each other. Because of COVID-19, we can’t hold a real meeting so decided to hold a virtual meetup activity and to exchange our ideas and experiences. The meetup contained two parts: introducing our own project to each other, and more important: discussing about the club activities. There are around twenty students in our virtual meetup, some of them are old iGEMers and some students are freshmen in iGEM. We introduced our artificial breast milk project carefully and shared our interesting experience during iGEM.
Then came to the discussion part, which is the main part of this meetup. We first introduced our experiences, that majority of our work is giving lectures to the 10th graders, teaching them actual synthetic biology knowledge.
When the school’s laboratory is available, we would show them the real equipment of synthetic biology experiments. These club activities can also help them to prepare for the future iGEM competition. The Nanjing Foreign Language School’s team, however, organized their activities in a different way. Their main purpose was to spread the synthetic biology knowledge to the society. They have held lectures in primary schools and junior high schools, and they even planned to introduce this subject to their neighborhoods. Of course, the knowledge they teach will be less professional, since one cannot talk about “genetic engineering” or “Gel electrophoresis experiment” to a 7 years old kid. Instead of teaching actual practical knowledge, the main purpose of their activities was to inspire people to get interested in this subject. The freshmen also joined the discussion and told us what they are interested in, which gave both of the teams more inspiration.
We learned a lot from the virtual meetup. After the discussion, we concluded that each of our club activities followed two different tracks. So we could add the other track in our club’s plan, which can make our activities more substantial. From our perspective, we would start to contact the primary schools of the education group of Beijing 101, and ask about whether we can introduce this subject briefly to their students. We would also make some posters and post them in our neighborhood. We believe that they would start their actions on teaching high school students and showing them a potential major of biology, too.