IGEM Outreach:Exploring Synthetic Biology

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Exploring Synthetic Biology

  • Arizona State iGEM 2011
  • Uses the Ethics in Synthetic Biology lesson plan from Cornell iGEM 2011


  • High schools with access to a biotechnology lab
  • AP Biology & Biotechnology classes (Grades 10-12)


A) Meeting One: (Biology/Biotechnology classes)

[Ready-to-use Presentation: http://prezi.com/bqt1cvldirvh/exploring-synthetic-biology-part-1/]

  1. Explain our reason for coming in and talking to the class
  2. Introduce the team and iGEM competition
  3. Ask some questions to the class (What interests you about biology? If you could create an organism to do anything you want, what would you make? etc.)
  4. Introduction to Synthetic Biology
    • What is synbio?
    • Why is it a relatively new field?
    • Biobricks – what they are and why they’re useful
    • Other resources (Journals, Scitables, etc)
  5. Talk about the High School division of the iGEM competition
  6. Talk about creating a biotechnology journal club that could turn into an iGEM team

B) Meeting Two:

  1. Cornell University’s Ethics in SynBio Lesson Plan
    • Add in Colbert Report Interview - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as a multimedia aspect of the presentation <html><object name="ttvplayer" id="ttvplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowScriptAccess="always" allowNetworking="all" allowFullScreen="true" height="288" width="437" data="http://media.mtvnservices.com/player/prime/mediaplayerprime.1.9.2.swf?uri=mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:267542&type=normal&ref=None&geo=US&group=entertainment&&CONFIG_URL=http%3a%2f%2fmedia.mtvnservices.com%2fpmt%2fe1%2fplayers%2fmgid%3acms%3aitem%3acomedycentral.com%3a%2fconfig.xml%3furi%3dmgid%3acms%3aitem%3acomedycentral.com%3a267542%26type%3dnormal%26ref%3dNone%26geo%3dUS%26group%3dentertainment%26"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="allowNetworking" value="all" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" /><param name="movie" value="http://media.mtvnservices.com/player/prime/mediaplayerprime.1.9.2.swf?uri=mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:267542&type=normal&ref=None&geo=US&group=entertainment&&CONFIG_URL=http%3a%2f%2fmedia.mtvnservices.com%2fpmt%2fe1%2fplayers%2fmgid%3acms%3aitem%3acomedycentral.com%3a%2fconfig.xml%3furi%3dmgid%3acms%3aitem%3acomedycentral.com%3a267542%26type%3dnormal%26ref%3dNone%26geo%3dUS%26group%3dentertainment%26"/><param name="flashVars" value="autoPlay=false&streamerType=rtmp"/><a href="http://colbertnation.com">The Colbert Report</a></object></html>
  2. Intro to the iGEM website, Parts Registry, and OWW
  3. Lab Safety in SynBio

C) Meeting Three (after high school students cover genetics):

  1. Ask students what kind of techniques they’ve used in their school labs during class
  2. Introduction to Techniques in SynBio
  3. Lab demonstration
  • GFP transformation, etc.

Introductory Articles for High School Students

  • Andrianantoandro, E., S. Basu, D. K. Karig, and R. Weiss. 2006. Synthetic biology: new engineering rules for an emerging discipline. Mol Syst Biol 2:2006 0028.
  • Drubin, D. A., J. C. Way, and P. A. Silver. 2007. Designing biological systems. Genes Dev 21:242- 54.
  • Endy, D. 2005. Foundations for engineering biology. Nature 438:449-453. 11.
  • Heinemann, M., and S. Panke. 2006. Synthetic biology--putting engineering into biology. Bioinformatics 22:2790-2799.
  • Marguet, P., F. Balagadde, C. Tan, and L. You. 2007. Biology by design: reduction and synthesis of cellular components and behaviour. J R Soc Interface 4:607-23.


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