Team:HokkaidoU Japan/Outreach/Discussion


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We and all iGEMers may notice that the field of synthetic biology or our iGEM activity is little known in general, and that few people have correct knowledge on gene recombination and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

Our homeland, Hokkaido, is the northernmost part of Japan, and famous for agriculture and daily farming. Based on this background, HokkaidoU stood up to share our knowledge with citizens not only to enlighten them but also to listen to their ingenuous opinions.


In the Festival at Hokkaido University, we conducted an experiment: “Detection of DNA extraction from banana”, hoping that participants feel familiar with DNA and genetic technology.

At high school, we made a presentation to the students majoring biology. We taught them a basis of genetic technology, both merits and demerits, and gave them opportunity to ponder on gene recombination.

At the same times, we obtained their thinkings. According to them, some got rid of superstitious denial of gene recombination and approved benefits of genetic technology, and others persist in their opinion that it is premature to put gene recombination into practice because we have not revealed all the mystery of life yet. We must face these opinions sincerely and find the way to reconcile. This year, we developed an easy method to utilize anti-sense RNA silencing. We expect that such a device will make artificial genes more refine and become a help to change GMO into more transparent biosystem.

Through these Univ. Festival and high school visiting, we communicated with more than 100 people and gave them an opportunity to know about genomics. Although this number is really small compared with the population of Hokkaido, it is not a waste in the least. This activity is a seed for the future. We believe that if we continue this activity and the participants spread their knowledge to those around them, after 10 or 20 years, or in the next generation, judicious thought will come into bud in the people.