Education and Communication
We created a series of extreme summaries of scientific papers called: tl;dr biology! It is meant to easily allow you to discover stirring papers about biology. We present to you unusual, famous, or controversial topics: mammalian cells extracting energy from the sun, the search for new treatments to prevent hospital infections caused by resistant strains, boolean gates and recombinases enzymes system, evolution platform for creating a genetic switch, control of neurons activity with ion channels in optogenetics, quoring sensing or simply… weird things you didn't know about biology. Enough to satisfy everyone! Addressing complex topics by making them accessible to the general public appeared obvious to create new opportunities to include more people in shaping synthetic biology. Indeed, since the release of our first publications on Instagram, the number of our subscribers has increased considerably, showing the public's interest for these summaries of scientific articles. We were able to discuss with the readers, who left comments on our publications, opening the debate and creating a two-way dialogue on public values and on the science behind synthetic biology, allowing us to improve as we published more and more complex topics in a concise and clear manner. Several foreign teams have contacted us and asked us to use our publications to translate them into their language and share them with their community. It was a great pleasure! We were also surprised to receive various messages afterwards on our instagram page, such as students inquiring about their studies orientation...our publications seem to reach a wide panel of the public!
Moreover, we created BioPuzzle, a puzzle game application, explaining the basics of synthetic biology progressively and pedagogically, from the central dogma of biology to the complex mechanisms of activation and repression. An editor mode will allow not only us but other teams and people from the scientific community to easily add new bricks and situations. The level design is made so that for each level designed, the player must complete a mission. For example, in level 1 (there are 9 available levels in total), there is no input and expression of the red protein. In level 2, no input means no expression, so the presence of lactose leads to red protein expression. When the player presses the submit button, it is checked that all the required input/output pairs are checked. Example of a complex level with 4 pairs of criteria to be checked: no input -> red protein and blue protein, lactose and fructose -> blue protein only, only lactose -> red protein, only fructose -> green protein. The level resolution is made so to succeed each level, the player will use bio bricks that we designed. Each bio bricks are defined as follow:
|Gene||No||Promoter(s) needed||Integer that determines the color of the sprite (in a set of 10 colors)||If activated, express the protein of the same name (1 protein by gene)|
|Promoter||Gene(s) that need this promoter||Other(s) BioBrick(s) needed to work||If close and before a target gene, initiates the transcription of the target gene|
|Repressor||BioBrick(s) targeted by the repressor||Other(s) BioBrick(s) needed to work||Repress target BioBrick|
|Activator||BioBrick(s) targeted by the activator||Other(s) BioBrick(s) needed to work||Activate target inactivated BioBrick|
|Input||BioBrick inhibited by the input||No||No||Not a BioBrick, describe the behavior of the different inputs|
This BioPuzzle application game could also lead to some interesting collaborations, by asking teams to download and do the puzzle. The application was released on July 21th 2021, and more than 90 users have downloaded it in 3 months.