IGEM:Harvard/2010/Human Practices/vision

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Our vision for what the final iGarden product would look like, and how people would use it. Also include future directions and applications of what we've done.

What are our goals?

  • to apply the biobrick standard to plants
  • to build the knowledge base on such entities as flavors and allergens (protein production pathways)
  • through the iGarden - to raise awareness about the GE process --> what message do we want to send?

to note: the foods we are creating are specialty plants, not meant for massive food consumption.

Our view on GE major crops ?????????

What we are doing is definitely not in the line of GM crops such as those produced by Monsato, Bayer, et al --> There is great potential for genetic engineering, but it must be thoroughly studied and regulated because of the inherent risks --> Most publicity occurs when things go wrong (true?). It is very easy to find negative commentary on GE foods, but the pro-gm side is quiet. (Because those backing GM are corporations? Don't feel the need to speak out? Don't need the activism)

Some anti-GM organizations, Greenpeace for example, exaggerate the difference between basic research and engineering. However, while engineering typically focuses on solving problems by [manipulation?] and basic research focuses on characterizing the world around us, those entities developed through engineering can help us better understand basic science. Information from basic science feeds engineering, and vice versa. EXAMPLE: our work on allergens. By trying to knock down allergens, we can learn more about what allergens are present in various plants and how they function.

Beyond the creation of foods, could also find applications in creation of drugs -- the advantage to the biobrick system is that is makes genetic modification relatively easy.