Synthetic biology strives to create new functions and organisms, which cannot be found in nature, in a purpose of broadening knowledge and applications. Proponents of synthetic biology are presenting it as a new field of biology, with a methodological approach mixing biology and engineering.
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) is an international synthetic biology competition created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T., Boston, USA) in 2004. Every year, a large number of teams from all over the world, more than 300 in 2018, are competing to present, in front of a jury, a project using this new approach.
The Institut Pasteur has been participating to iGEM since 2015. The iGEM Pasteur Paris 2018 team is composed of students coming from different fields of study (biology, physics, chemistry, industrial design and law). This year, our project is focusing on prostheses and on the problem of related infections. Indeed, this issue is caused by the presence of bacteria or other microorganisms developing at the interface between the implant and the human body. Those infections are developing in around 5% of operations. Moreover, the comfort associated to the use of current prostheses is only partial due to the fact that it is based on biomechanical approximations. The use of an active muscle to redirect the command toward a finger movement is an example of it. The goal of the team is, firstly, to develop a way to fight infections and, secondly, to develop a biocompatible interface between nerves and prosthesis or electrodes.
Beyond the scientific aspects of our project, other social, ethical or legal concerns need to be taken into account. Essential part of iGEM, the Human Practices aim to push every team to take a step back on their project and consider its effects on society. Thus, through this survey, we would like to learn more about your opinion concerning synthetic biology and also share with you our project.
*Answering this survey should take around 10 to 12 minutes.
We inform you that the content of this survey will differ according to the concerned audience (health professionals, people in direct with contact through work with amputees…).
We thank you for your interest in this survey!