Lab Sessions

Last July our iGEM group carried out several lab sessions with children between twelve and fourteen years old.

The aim was to bring science closer to young people and awaken in them an interest in research. We tried to show them what life in the lab is like and teach what iGEM is about. But above all, our main objective was to make children feel like scientists for a day.

In order to introduce the activity, we prepared an entertaining presentation and gave them a protocol (both attached below), so children learned while they started taking some responsibility, although we assisted them during the activity.

The lab session consisted of two different parts. In the first one, children had to prepare LB medium and in the second one, we gave them Petri dishes with medium so they could collect samples from different sources.

They showed great interest and curiosity. This was definitely a fantastic experience for them, but also for us and we would doubtless organise this kind of event again!


This team did a crowdfunding to get a bigger budget to travel to Lyon to present our project and to cover our expenses and laboratory reagents.


Our team thought that it could be a good idea to make a survey asking people about their knowledge about transgenic microorganisms and more concretely about what would be the impact of our device.

So we developed a survey that was distributed by the internet and that had open access. It was a multiple choice, anonymous, seven questions long questionnaire with these questions and options:

Table 1. Questionnaire.

We analyze the results using the program R and we found interesting conclusions.

Our sample was 172 individuals with different age and formation, as you can see in graphs number 3 and 4. Most of the people who answered the survey were between 15 and 30 (75%), probably because the use of social networks is more common between these ages.

According to their formation, 83.72% of our sample had gone to university.

Graphic 3 and 4. Age and Formation.

Most of the people (90,7%) know what are yeasts (graph 5). If the answer was “yes”, we encouraged people to tell us why and most of them said that because they are used in food industry (wine, beer and bread) and more than the half of the group (51,7%) announced that they knew that it is useful in research.

Graphic 5. Do you know what yeasts are?.

Graphic 6. Did you know that Saccharomyces is frequently used in research in the field of biology and health sciences?.

When we asked them about their opinion of transgenic microorganisms, we found that a big percentage didn’t have enough criteria to say if they were in disappointment or not (%). We grouped answers “I don’t have enough information to answer”, “Depending on their purpose”, “I think they are something dangerous”, and “It is OK, but only in research fields” as neutral ones because most of them admitted in other questions that they didn’t have knowledge enough about the topic, and that their opinion in that moment was due to the poor information they had or what they had listened on TV. In graph number 8 it can be seen the feelings that modified organisms cause in people.

Graphic 7. General opinions about transgenic organisms.

Graphic 8. Opinion about modified organisms.

We also tried to see if there were correlation between variables, and we observed that the age and the level of studies was determinant to agree with transgenic organisms or not.

In case of variables opinion and formation, when Pearson’s chi-square test was carried out a p-value = 0.002976 was obtained and in case of age and opinion p-value = 1.308e-05. So with these data we can assume that these relations are very rare to be due to pure chance, so independence can be rejected quite confidently.

Bachelors between 15 and 30 years old are the group who has a better opinion of modified organisms and who know more about the topic (graph 9 and 10).

Graphic 9. Relationship between opinion and age.

Graphic 10. Relationship between opinion and formation.

We have observed that the results could be biased because we intuit that the majority of the people who answered the survey was part of our classmates (biotechnologist and biologists specially) so all they have great knowledge in this field.

To conclude, our group thinks that it would be really interesting to prepare programs and talks to try to introduce people in the world of transgenic and modified organisms so the rejection would diminish as the major part of the people against them think like that because of a lack of information.