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This page is for brainstorming ideas about plot, characters, imagery and anything else related to the Adventures in Synthetic Biology comic series. Add whatever you like; all useful contributions will be used / acknowledged.

General Ideas
  • 3-4 of ~350 iGEM 2006 students had heard anything at all about the conversations 30 years ago leading to the current safety framework for rDNA research. The generation of scientists who led these conversations are getting up there in years. In addition, we are now concerned with security issues. So... how about a 3-chapter issue on (i) safety, (ii) security, and (iii) preparedness.
  • Depict challenge of making a new part. say something about how f*$king hard synthetic biology is right now
  • Revisit societal issues
  • Expand cultural and morphological diversity of characters
  • Explain biology to engineers (the previous comic seemed to assume some knowledge of biology and explained engineering concepts) --RS
    • But, didn't the entire first chapter and description of parts on the whiteboard do this? Or, what was missing?
  • How about some stuff from the point of view of the bacteria blob? There could be 2 points of view: one that they are quickly getting new functionality that they would never have had (so happy bacteria), and one that all they want to do is survive, not blink (depict a microbial scale conflict between the synthetic biologist and the living world). --Austin
  • Explain the technology at the foundation of synthetic biology, esp. DNA synthesis. --Austin
  • Bring in some real applications that exist now, for example making drugs. Whereas previously pharmas could do this, we're getting to the point people can do this at home. --Austin
  • Tell them why Synthetic Biology is an extension to eugenics by encoding genome-wide switches to transform Adam (Buddy) into a X-Men to "save humanity", and reducing its population through euthanasia of random kids addicted to the Batman characters and Call of Duty. --Etienne
    • Note the complete lack of empathy or the absence (denial) of scientific responsability and bioethics into the character design, and how these so-called epic "Adventures" are perhaps the genuine inventions of mentally-ill scientifics guided by irate pharmaceutical companies to enforce a totalitarian regime with unconventional methods and tactics, chemical agents, and microwaves into America.
      • Study the use of "anti-malarial" precursors (ie artemisinin) as important key factor in the development of their newer, updated, germ-based theaters (Aurora), and how their patented inventions (Ziklon-B, H1N1 vaccine) are developed by Nazi scientifics to promote torture, genocide, and the denial of the truth regarding the establishment of a modern US-based totalitarian regime.

Plot Ideas

  • Seems like last time the adventures were motivated by limits in the available technology. Next time around they could use a nemesis or two or three. Classic comic heroes are often misunderstood in the press, get targeted by evil mutants trying to destroy the world (starting with our favorite superhero), and many times the heroes themselves are internally conflicted when using their superhuman powers since their secret identity may endanger loved ones. What about a world crisis that only Synthetic Biology can solve? Any chance we can save the planet or the universe?-- Natalie
    • Be careful not to make the nemesis someone who is using SB for evil. Maybe the nemesis could be someone who doesn't appreciate the importance of science or understand how it impacts their lives. Perhaps Intelligent design Ida or Budget-cutting Bertha.--Kathleen
  • Some setting/character/plot ideas based on what I've read here...-Iz
  • A genetically-engineered Buddy returns to his microbial world (his petri dish?) and is greeted by fellow bacteria as both a star and a freak of nature. Various opinions of the bacteria can reflect the spectrum of responses in the human world to synthetic biology: asking questions, evaluating real risk, why screw with nature, skeptics who compare Dude and Sally to Dr. Frankenstein, Intelligent Design etc. Just imagine what Chuck could do here, personifying bacteria with these attributes/ideologies.--Iz
  • Panel idea: Bacteria gathered around Buddy, waiting to see what he can do. Buddy “opens” a door to reveal a light switch inside himself. He flips it and then he GLOWS. In awe, other bacteria say “Oooooh.”--Iz
  • Buddy is hounded by viral reporters, wanting to know about his experience (can play up the alien abduction angle). One microbial reporter, Sound Byte Biff or Bill O’Moeba, is particularly harassing and twists what Buddy says. The reporter can play on fear of the “mad scientist,” and through this character we can bring out the worst of what people think of science and technology.--Iz
    • Dialogue--Iz
    • Bill: These so-called scientists want to make you and your progeny glow. What’s next? Are they going to give us tattoos? Pierce our flagella? Make us dance the cha cha cha? All in the name of progress? To what end, good citizens? To what purpose?
    • Buddy: I’m programmed to detect cellular DNA damage.
    • Bill: Listen to this miscreant. He’s “programmed.” Disgraceful.
    • Buddy: Then I fluoresce in a pattern to indicate what I’ve found.
    • Bill: You fluoresce. Look, Buddy, I was infecting cells long before your parent decided to split and bring you into this world, so don’t get uppity with me.
  • Sally and Dude can “transport” themselves inside and face these questions in an interview (or as if they are on trial?), answer them with dignity and patience (or not). Dude can explain with frustration how hard it is at this point to do synthetic biology, and Sally can focus on what the technology and knowledge could mean to the world.--Iz
  • Maybe as an example of what can be accomplished, Dude brings with him a strain of malaria that he lets loose in the dish. Then he injects Buddy with synthesized artemisinin (or however it would be delivered) and Buddy takes the malaria down.--Iz
    • Dialogue--Iz
    • Irate Bacteria: What are you, crazy? What do we look like to you--guinea pigs?
    • Dude: I hate to break it to you, man, but you’re living in a Petri dish.
    • Dumb Bacteria: What’s a guinea pig?

Character Ideas

  • Introduce a synthetic biology skeptic character. It'd make for some interesting dialogue. --Austin
    • How about "Devil's Advocate Debbie" or "Questioning Quinn"?--Kathleen
  • Reveal whether or not System Sally has human eyes?
    • Maybe she can be an X-men-type character with eyes that can see inside cells, actually watching SB systems in action (could be useful to demonstrate important ideas in the future...). She needs the glasses to filter out her "DNA vision"?--Kathleen
    • I'm not sure any sort connection (even implied) with X-men would be very helpful. Having humans with superpowers implies that we are trying to go towards genetically engineering ourselves to be X-men. --Austin