Team:Paris Saclay/Outreach





Ethical problems are based on our representation of life and new biotechnologies, hence exchanging with people became obvious to advance toward a generally accepted solution, especially with a non-scientific public. These issues were discussed at the French iGEM Meetup and during some public events.

If you are interested in learning more about one of the three following events, just click on the name of the event!

French Meetup

Our team co-hosted the French Meetup along with Bettencourt and Evry, from 2 August 2014 to 3 August 2014. There were 5 teams in total: Bettencourt, Bordeaux, Evry, Lyon, Saclay. We learned a lot about the different projects and exchanged ideas, notably about ethics during our workshop.


Curiositas, held at Orsay, is art-and-science festival that took place on October 4th to 9th. During a dynamic and constructive debate about bioart and bioethics, our teams talked with Marion Laval-Jeantet, artist and promoter of the festival, the Parisian iGEM teams (Paris Bettencourt and Evry teams) and the audience.

Science Festival

On October the 12th, on the occasion of the French Science Festival, laboratories of the Paris-Sud University arranged visits and events for general public. Because it is sometimes difficult to talk about science to children, we tried to didactically approach this with experiments and simple visual presentations to illustrate synthetic biology and our project.

Meeting with high school students

One of the objectives of the iGEM competition is to promote synthetic biology and raise awareness about the future challenges that it will represent. Thus, we decided to introduce synthetic biology to students from a high school in order to present what synthetic biology exactly is and to collect their feelings about this new science. We were greeted at the high school: “Lycée Jacques Prévert” in the city of Longjumeau near Paris.

We first described briefly what a gene is and how it is expressed to clear their heads up. Fortunately, they knew perfectly this subject. We wanted to know what were their first thoughts when we talked about synthetic biology without describing it. They usually answered by explaining the meaning of each words: built something with biological organisms. They were surprised to learn that a bacteria can be used as a machine to produce so many things. Then they realized that maybe we could do whatever we want and it could be dangerous.

The question of GMOs was raised at this point. They said that GMOs were only profitable for company who made them. They underlined the fact that GMOs were used for a short period and maybe we do not know yet all the effects and it might occur some side effects too. Underlying the fact that GMOs can also produce some medicine, they finally believed that it must be a good tool for high and effective production.

At the end of the day, they had all the arguments to make their own project when we asked them to write on a paper what they wanted to do with synthetic biology. We collected the paper and realized that they understood what we presented to them. Here are some of their projects:

  • Feed poor countries with specifically transformed plants (drought-resistant).
  • Transform humans to have wings
  • Create paper-producing bacteria
  • Rainbow human: decrease racism with humans genetically modified to change their skin colour all along the day

This experience was very helpful to really understand what young students think about this new science. We did not expect them to be so open-minded and it made us confident about the future of synthetic biology.


Throughout the project, we exchanged and collaborated with many iGEM teams.