Team:Manaus Amazonas-Brazil/Manicore



An iGEM team outreach goes to Amazon (we mean..inner Amazon) Our team went to an adventure in the rainforest; we went to Manicoré, a municipality located in the south-east of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Its population is about 48,000 souls (2012) and its area is 48,282 km². As all little towns in Amazon rainforest its inhabitants are from small satellite communities. The town itself has half of the population we mentioned before. The origin of Manicoré name is from the river that has the same name, one of the main affluent of Madeira River, itself one of the most important arms of the might Amazon River. The name Manicoré stands for an old Indian tribe that inhabited the region before the colonization from Portuguese.

Municipality of Manicoré
To get there we traveled about 400Km toward south and spend twelve hours through a nice and bumpy highway: the river Madeira. Yes, we’ve made by boat! These are the truly highways in Amazon.

Our route from Manaus to Manicoré: ~400km away
We joined another group also working at University of Amazonas from Chemistry department, participating with then in the event called: Unveiling the Forensic Science. Since our Electrobacter-iGEM project is about (also) environment, as we are proposing a system that reduces used frying oil spills, we fitted in their Environment Forensic Science, cool isn’t? So, for first we’ve made lots new friends from our own University! And after see the stunning and beautiful Amazonian landscapes and sunrise and sunset we finally reach the target! What trip!

iGEM team and Chemistry department working together and havin photo together in Manicoré. Good times!

Opening cerimony

We had a municipal high school to occupy and give three day course with dynamics and practicum for the students from Manicoré and surroundings. We have more than 300 students participating in the whole thing counting the three days. We made some plays; DNA extraction from onion, banana, pineapple; talked about the used frying oil environmental issues and legislation about it; and of course we talked a lot how SynBio can solve this in the future, therefore we spread the news about iGEM, our participation in the competition and how it works. On the boat again…. In the last day we get together with about 40 students in a two-deck regional boat and we talked about the importance of the hydrological system in Amazon and other tropical rainforest in the world (nothing better than do this inside a boat!), and our dependency from these waters and ecosystems. We also stressed the point about the use of used frying oil and the threats of it in the way we humans are doing.

It was a wonderful experience and made us feel more Amazonians than ever. We learned a lot and now we can say in a practical way that science and education can transform lives and synthetic biology is applicable and feasible for real world problems. Besides, people over there have so much to be heard that we could improve our way of doing research, but this is other text to be written. Thanks for all that participate on that educational adventure...It’s time to get on the boat once again and come back home…