Team:Toulouse/ethics

From 2014.igem.org

(Difference between revisions)
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</p>
</p>
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       <p class="texte">The ethical questioning turned out to be one of the major starting points of our project. Acting on an established environment and modifying it is no mean feat and our thinking combines technical and philosophical points of view. The actual purpose of our project also leads us to undertake an ethical questioning about the role of the scientist regarding “useless” things such as the trees lining the Canal du Midi. </p>
+
       <p class="texte">The ethical
 +
questioning turned out to be one of the major starting points of our project.
 +
Acting on an established environment and modifying it is by no mean trivial and
 +
our combined technical and philosophical points of view. The actual purpose of our project also leads us to undertake an
 +
ethical questioning about the role of the scientist regarding “useless” things
 +
such as the trees lining along the Canal du Midi. </p>
<p class="title1" id="select1">Protection of the beauty</p>
<p class="title1" id="select1">Protection of the beauty</p>
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</p>
</p>
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<p class="texte"> Beauty is a feeling of satisfaction and is selfless. It is more a feeling than the property of a thing, this is not a notion we can clearly understand. Indeed, we can find something beautiful even when we don’t know the purpose of the object...</p>
+
<p class="texte"> Beauty is a
 +
feeling of satisfaction and is selfless. It is more a feeling than the property
 +
of a thing, this is not a notion we can clearly understand. Indeed, we can find
 +
something beautiful even when we don’t know the purpose of the object...</p>
<center>
<center>
<img src="http://2014.igem.org/wiki/images/f/fa/Fontaine_Duchamp.jpg" width="400px">
<img src="http://2014.igem.org/wiki/images/f/fa/Fontaine_Duchamp.jpg" width="400px">
<p class="legend">Figure 1: Fontaine (Marcel Duchamp). Yes this is also art...</p></center>
<p class="legend">Figure 1: Fontaine (Marcel Duchamp). Yes this is also art...</p></center>
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<p class="texte">There is always a distinction between natural beauty and artistic beauty according to Hegel, the famous philosopher. The artistic beauty is born from our mind and our spirit: it is an element of signification of the work of art whereas the natural beauty of the object is external. In a way, the Canal du Midi combines both types of beauty: a natural one regarding the nature, the centenary plane trees but also an artistic one since the Canal was built by the human hands.
+
<p class="texte">There is always
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Usually, science judges beauty as a superficial feature not deserving to undertake any kind of scientific efforts to maintain it. The traditional role of science is to solve global issues and to elaborate complex strategies in order to find useful solutions for everyone’s life.  
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a distinction between natural beauty and artistic beauty according to Hegel,
-
Once made this observation, one may wonder why synthetic biology would be used only to protect the useless beauty of a local heritage such as the trees lining the Canal du Midi.  
+
the famous philosopher. The artistic beauty is born from our mind and our
 +
spirit: it is an element of signification of the work of art whereas the
 +
natural beauty of the object is external. In a way, the Canal du Midi combines
 +
both types of beauty: a natural one regarding the Nature, the centenary plane
 +
trees but also an artistic one since the Canal was built by the human hands.
 +
Usually, science judges beauty as a superficial feature not deserving to
 +
undertake any kind of scientific efforts to maintain it. The traditional role
 +
of science is to solve global issues and to elaborate complex strategies in
 +
order to find useful solutions for everyone’s life. Once made this observation,
 +
one may wonder why synthetic biology would be used only to protect the useless
 +
beauty of a local heritage such as the trees lining the Canal du Midi.  
</p>
</p>
<p class="texte">
<p class="texte">
-
This crucial interrogation leads us to consider science and synthetic biology in another way. <B> What if the role of scientists was also to make people rediscovering the beauty of nature? What if the bases of new scientific challenges resulted from a more local scale? </B> Science does not have to be elitist, it has so much to gain opening itself to these challenges. First scientifically, as research is never useless and as we never know the impact and the scope of our results. Then socially, as we could measure the deep interest raised by our project within the population and the media. Adopting a new vision of synthetic biology, we probably make people change their mind about this innovative discipline. <br>
+
This crucial
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The traditional cold objectivity of science distances itself from the society. However, scientists are also being capable of feeling the beauty, sensitive to the charm of landscapes and <B>able to understand the usefulness of "useless" trees</B>…<br><br>
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interrogation leads us to consider science and synthetic biology from a
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The design of a strategy to protect useless beauty may seem senseless but we believe that it is also the scientist’s duty. We have to remember that the thought is what distinguish <i>Homo sapiens</i> from other species on earth and this thought make us able to understand the world and be conscious of our being (Descartes: <i>Cogito ergo sum</i>). The art is an object of philosophical thought. Consciousness raises humans above all others living creatures. Thus, it is necessary to respect and protect art. And thus, it becomes essential to preserve the beauty of this site.  
+
different point of view. <b>What if the role of scientists was also to make
 +
people rediscovering the beauty of Nature? What if the bases of new scientific
 +
challenges resulted from a more local scale? </b>Science does not have to be it has so much to gain opening itself to these
 +
challenges. First scientifically, as research is never
 +
useless and as we never know the impact and the scope of our results.
 +
class=GramE>Then socially, as we could measure the deep interest raised by our
 +
project within the population and the media. Adopting a new vision of synthetic
 +
biology, we will probably make people change their mind about this innovative
 +
discipline. <br>
 +
The traditional cold objectivity of science distances itself from the society.
 +
However, scientists are also being capable of feeling the beauty, sensitive to
 +
the charm of landscapes and <b>able to understand the usefulness of
 +
"useless" trees</b>…<br>
 +
The design of a strategy to protect useless beauty may seem senseless but we
 +
believe that it is also the scientist’s duty. We have to remember that thinking
 +
is what distinguish <i>Homo sapiens</i> from other species on earth and this
 +
"thinking" feature allows us to understand the world and be conscious
 +
of our human Nature (Descartes: <i>Cogito ergo sum</i>). The art is an object
 +
of philosophical thought. Consciousness raises humans above all others living
 +
creatures. Thus, it is necessary to respect and protect art. And thus, it
 +
becomes essential to preserve the beauty of the Canal du Midi.  
</p>
</p>
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<p class="title1" id="select2">Human intervention in the nature</p>
+
<p class="title1" id="select2">Human
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<p class="texte">Our main questioning aim to understand the complicated relationship between man and nature. Does the mankind have the proper right to change the nature? Is modified nature considered as artificial?</p>
+
intervention on  Nature</p>
 +
<p class="texte">Our main
 +
question is to understand the complicated relationship between man and Nature.
 +
Does mankind have the proper right to change the Nature? Is modified Nature
 +
considered as artificial?</p>
<p class="title2"> Mankind & Nature</p>
<p class="title2"> Mankind & Nature</p>
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<p class="texte"> Nature is known as a creation of God. Human is linked to the nature and for that reason the nature deserves to be respected and loved. Mankind has always been linked to Nature as its survival depends on what comes out of the ground, the trees, the oceans… The nature is a source of wealth for the humankind. It ensures survival and development by giving men the wood, the rocks, the soil to build shelters. Being in contact with nature can allow men to feel strong emotion, as describe by poets like Hugo and Lamartine.</p>
+
<p class="texte"> Nature deserves
 +
to be respected and loved. Mankind has always been linked to Nature as its
 +
survival depends on what comes out of the ground, the trees, the oceans… The
 +
Nature is a source of wealth for mankind. It ensures survival and development
 +
by giving men the wood, the rocks, the soil to build shelters. Being in contact
 +
with Nature can allow men to feel strong emotion, as describe by poets like
 +
Hugo and Lamartine.</p>
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<p class="texte">Since the birth of humanity, man himself understood well the importance of studying and mastering Nature to develop the civilization. Still today the most advanced technologies often try to mimic natural phenomena. With the development of the civilizations, men modified their environment, changing it for their own comfort depending on their own desire. By increasing their cities and acitvities, humans modify the natural environment. With the industrialization of the societies, the natural environment has suffered from human activities such as waste discharges, oil slicks, intensive fishing but also the introduction of devastating species such as the pathogen,<I> Ceratocystis platani</I>. However, despite these negative aspects, men are capable of favorable actions to help the environment and fix their mistakes. The current trend is to limit the impact of human interventions on the nature, and hopefully this trend is not transient and will not vanish. A new desire is born, a wish to protect the nature and the wildness. Man fits with his position: he takes advantage of the environment and the environment takes advantage of the reasoned human interventions. There is an adaptation of the mankind toward the nature. Moreover, humans have the capacity of empathy: people are able to understand the emotions and cognitive states of other organisms and to identify to them. To respond to these feelings, humans have technological tools allowing them to fight against enemies such as <I>Ceratocystis platani.</I>
+
<p class="texte">Since the birth
 +
of humanity, man himself understood the importance of studying and mastering
 +
Nature to develop the civilization. Still today the most advanced technologies
 +
often try to mimic natural phenomena. With the development of civilization, men
 +
modified their environment, changing it for their own comfort depending on
 +
their own desire. With the increase of human activity, the natural environment
 +
is modified profundly. With industrialization, the
 +
natural environment suffered from waste discharges, oil slicks, intensive
 +
fishing (and many others...) but also the introduction of devastating species
 +
such as the pathogen,<i> Ceratocystis
 +
platani</i>. However, despite these negative aspects, men
 +
are capable of favorable actions to help the environment and fix their
 +
mistakes. The current trend is to limit the impact of human interventions on
 +
Nature, and hopefully this trend is not transient and will not vanish. A new
 +
desire is born, a wish to protect Nature and wilderness. Humanity can adhere to
 +
this position: human take advantage of the
 +
environment and the environment takes advantage of the reasoned human
 +
interventions. There is an adaptation of mankind to Nature. Moreover, humans
 +
can have empathy: people are capable of understanding emotions and cognitive
 +
states of other organisms. To respond to these feelings, humans have
 +
technological tools allowing them to fight against enemies. This is the case
 +
with our project: fighting <i>Ceratocystis
 +
platani</i>.
</p>
</p>
-
<p class="texte">In conclusion, by destroying and hammering the nature, we jeopardize our lives. We need the nature, we come from the nature and we depend on nature for our survival, our food, our discoveries and our civilisation. Respecting, loving and preserving the environment is a question of survival.</p>
+
<p class="texte">In conclusion,
 +
by destroying and hammering the Nature, we jeopardize our lives. We need
 +
Nature, we come from Nature and we depend on Nature for survival, food,
 +
discoveries and civilisation. Respecting, loving and
 +
preserving the beauty of it is also a question of
 +
survival.</p>
<p class="title2">Nature and artifice
<p class="title2">Nature and artifice
</p>
</p>
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<p class="texte">Talking about the nature refers to the whole world with an exception: all the transformations made by mankind. Thus, the nature consists in the real without all the artificial elements created by humans. The nature is existing regardless of men and his interventions whereas artificial is everything that exists thanks to humans.
+
<p class="texte">Talking about
 +
the Nature refers to the whole world with an exception: all the transformations
 +
made by mankind. Nature exists regardless of men and his interventions whereas
 +
artificial is everything that exists because to humans.
</p>
</p>
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<p class="texte">However, pretending that natural and artificial are opposite does not seem to be true. Man cannot create without elements provided by the nature, he is just transforming the nature, changing the shape. Thus we may wonder if there is a true difference between natural and artificial. The border between these two notions is not as obvious as it seems. The landscapes are shaped by the hand of man, animals are domesticated, and now bacteria are considered as cell factories. A natural reserve is artificially preserved as the result of human actions. Is there still something natural since the birth of humankind? Actually, the artifice is a slight modification of Nature and couldn’t exist by itself. The distinction between natural and artificial seems sterile and we clearly understand that these notions are inextricably linked and need each other to exist. </p>
+
<p class="texte">However,
 +
pretending that natural and artificial are opposite does not seem to be true.
 +
Man cannot create without the various elements provided by Nature, he then justs transform Nature. Thus we may wonder if there is a
 +
true difference between natural and artificial. The border between these two
 +
notions is not as obvious as it seems. The landscapes are shaped by the hand of
 +
man, animals are domesticated, and now bacteria are considered as cell
 +
factories. A natural reserve is artificially preserved as a result of human
 +
actions. Is there still something natural since the birth of mankind? Actually,
 +
the artifice is a slight modification of Nature and couldn’t exist by itself.
 +
The distinction between natural and artificial seems sterile and we clearly
 +
understand that these notions are inextricably linked and need each other to
 +
exist. </p>
-
<p class="texte">In conclusion, isn't our duty to use our unique position in the history of life and our human approach to try to replace the evolutive processes?</p>
+
<p class="texte">In conclusion,
 +
isn't it our duty to use our unique position in the history of life and our human
 +
approach to try to replace the evolutive processes?</p>
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<p class="texte">These inextricable links are obviously the basis of our project. We aim to artificially preserve a natural heritage shaped by Pierre Paul Riquet hundreds years ago. The modification of a naturally occurring form of life to strengthen it is maybe just the imitation of the natural evolution process. What is considered today as ‘non-natural’ may be one day regarded differently. To the extent that everything is done not to unbalance the ecosystem, our intervention can be judged rightful, even more than the use of chemicals.</p>
+
<p class="texte">These
 +
inextricable links are obviously the basis of our project. We aim to
 +
artificially preserve a natural heritage shaped by Pierre Paul Riquet hundreds years ago.Fighting a
 +
naturally occurring form of life that threatens it maybe just an imitation of
 +
the natural evolution process. What is considered today as ‘non-natural’
 +
may be one day regarded differently. To the extent that everything is done not
 +
to unbalance the ecosystem, our intervention can be judged rightful, even more
 +
than the use of chemicals.</p>
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</p>
</p>
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<p class="texte">To be sure that SubtiTree will not survive and spread in the environment, many strategies were discussed to improve our bacterium:  
+
<p class="texte">To be sure that
 +
SubtiTree will not survive and spread in the
 +
environment, many strategies were discussed to improve our bacterium:  
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<br>- Avoid the survival in the environment thanks to a proline auxotrophy system
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<br>- Avoid the survival in the natural environment (outside the tree) thanks to a proline auxotrophy system  
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<br>- Prevent the sporulation of <I> B. subtilis</I> to make it annual  
+
<br>- Prevent the sporulation of <i>B. subtilis</i> to make it annual
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<br>- Avoid gene transfers between SubtiTree and a wild type bacterium thanks to a toxin-antitoxin system  
+
<br>- Avoid gene transfers between SubtiTree and a wild
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<br>- Use integrative plasmid to improve the genetic stability
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type bacterium thanks to a toxin-antitoxin system  
 +
<br>- Use an integrative plasmid to improve the genetic stability
</p>
</p>
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<p class="texte"><I><CENTER>Political and public adhesion</I></CENTER></p>
<p class="texte"><I><CENTER>Political and public adhesion</I></CENTER></p>
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<p class="texte">Because of the magnitude of our project,its application interested several civil services. Indeed some municipalities and regional councils supported our local engagement. Beyond that, our project interests the highest level of the “Canal du Midi” administration: the national navigation authority and the Ministry of agriculture funded this project. They are still looking for the best way to further this work after the iGEM competition. </p>
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<p class="texte">Due to our
 +
strong implication in preserving this magnificent work of art, our project
 +
interested several governmental services. Indeed some municipalities and
 +
regional councils supported our local engagement. Beyond that, our project
 +
interests the highest level of the “Canal du Midi” administration: the national
 +
navigation authority (VNF) and the Ministry of agriculture. Both of them funded
 +
this project. They are now looking for the continuation of the project after
 +
the iGEM competition. This is clearly a sign that we targeted the right
 +
question. </p>
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<p class="texte">This project also received the attention of the public through several articles in newspapers, television, radio and internet. First we had just a local coverage, but days after days there were more and more media intereseted in SubtiTree. This mediatic coverage allowed us to contact concerned citizens who participated to the development of this project. This interaction with the public allowed us to explain and promote public knowledge of synthetic biology.  </p>
+
<p class="texte">This project
 +
also received the attention of the public through several articles in
 +
newspapers, television, radio and internet. First we had just a local coverage,
 +
but days after days there were more and more media interested in SubtiTree. This mediatic coverage
 +
allowed us to contact concerned citizens who participated to the development of
 +
this project. This interaction with the public allowed us to explain and
 +
promote public knowledge of synthetic biology.  </p>
<p class="texte"><I><CENTER>Safety principle</I></CENTER></p>
<p class="texte"><I><CENTER>Safety principle</I></CENTER></p>
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<p class="texte">One single tree infected by Canker, and all the trees located in an area of a couple of hundred meters around are included in the prophylactic cut. We acted to preserve the surrounding trees. The modification of the endophytic microbial fauna generated by the introduction of the engineered bacterium has to be compared to the introduction of chemicals. They contain chlorine atom and aromatic hydrocarbon, so their remediation is complicated and they represent a source of pollution. By shortening the lifespan to one season and minimizing the risks of spreading, we plan a safe and environmental-friendly way to fight Canker.
+
<p class="texte">One single tree
 +
infected by Canker, and all the trees located in an area of a couple of hundred
 +
meters around are included in the prophylactic cut. We acted to preserve the
 +
surrounding trees. The modification of the endophytic
 +
microbial fauna generated by the introduction of the engineered bacterium has
 +
to be compared to the introduction of chemicals. They contain chlorine atom and
 +
aromatic hydrocarbon, so their remediation is complicated and they represent a
 +
source of pollution. By shortening the lifespan to one season and minimizing
 +
the risks of spreading, we plan a safe and environmental-friendly way to fight
 +
Canker.  
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</p>
</p>
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<p class="texte">We wonder about the feasibility of tree’s treatment. As we used endophytic bacteria, we can count on the natural growth of SubtiTree inside the sap. So we can inject few bacteria to be sure to have enough bacteria to protect the tree. Some researchers (Xianling Ji1 et al) already injected <i>Bacillus subtilis</i> in plants and observe an increase of bacteria concentration to a maximum of 10^5 bacteria/mL/p>
+
<p class="texte">We wonder about
 +
the feasibility of tree’s treatment. As we used endophytic
 +
bacteria, we can count on the natural growth of SubtiTree
 +
inside the sap. So we can inject few bacteria to be sure to have enough
 +
bacteria to protect the tree. Some researchers (Xianling
 +
Ji<sup>1</sup> et al) already injected <i>Bacillus subtilis</i> in plants and
 +
observe an increase of bacteria concentration to a maximum of 10<sup>5</sup>
 +
bacteria/mL</p>
-
<p class="texte">As we aim to inject a poor quantity of bacteria, this treatment remains cheaper than the injection of several litter of fungicides. In addition, this injection prevents the preventive tree cutting, which is very expensive. Cutting one tree cost around €3000. The administration in charge of the protection of the “Canal du Midi” already plans to spend 220 million euros to cut and replant all trees along the Canal. Besides the important cost of cutting trees, it will destroy one of the symbols of south-western France. </p>
+
<p class="texte">As we aim to
 +
inject a small quantity of bacteria, this treatment remains cheaper than the
 +
injection of several liters of chemical fungicides. In addition, this injection
 +
prevents the preventive tree cutting, which is very expensive. Cutting one tree
 +
cost around € 3000. The administration in charge of the protection of the
 +
“Canal du Midi” already plans to spend 220 million euros to cut and replant all
 +
trees along the Canal. Besides the important cost of cutting trees, it will
 +
destroy one of the symbols of south-western France. </p>
-
<p class="texte">We know that SubtiTree could be improved in many ways, but in the iGEM’s circumstances we could not have the time to go deeper. First, we can improve the fixation module. Using chitin as fixation anchor is simple but not enough specific to fix just one fungus type. That’s why we first think to fix SubtiTree to one protein included in the <I>Ceratocystis platani</I>’s membrane: CP. The bacterial prototype designed this summer can be optimized to trigger the fungicides production when the binding is completed, and to be more specific changing the peptides produced.</p>
+
<p class="texte">We know that SubtiTree could be improved in many ways, but in the  
 +
iGEM’s circumstances we could not have the time to go
 +
deeper. First, we can improve the fixation module. Using chitin as fixation
 +
anchor is simple but not enough specific to fix just one fungus type. That’s
 +
why we first think to fix SubtiTree to one protein
 +
included in the <i>Ceratocystis
 +
platani</i>’s
 +
membrane: CP. The bacterial prototype designed this summer can be optimized to
 +
trigger the fungicides production when the binding is completed, and to be more
 +
specific changing the peptides produced.</p>
</div>
</div>

Revision as of 21:32, 17 October 2014