Team:XMU-China/Integrated Practices

Integrated Practices

Why is the project important and how was it executed.

XMU-China did a lot in the field of human practice in order to serve the design, execution and presentation of our project. To finish the integrated human practice, we expanded the topic reducing antibiotics abuse to a large scope.


Ethics is a regulation of relationship between people and people or nature which discusses what is correct or what is wrong. Only a project fits in with the ethics can it be carried out. So, let’s illustrate the association between ethics and antibiotics abuse.

The lack of internationally accepted principles of antibiotics usage in the food industry lead to a inadequate supervision system in this field. WHO, FAO and OIE should established a food processing monitoring platform.

Human society and bacteria world are in balance. The dosage and usage of antibiotics regulate the balance to some extent. If antibiotics are used properly, disease infected by bacteria can be controlled by mankind. So antibiotics have the satisfactory effect. But the rate of bacteria resistance would increase because of the overuse of antibiotics, which lead to the fact that scientific development can not keep up with the pace of bacteria resistance. The side effects of antibiotics are reflected by degrees.

Some kind of medical injuries are unavoidable, but the intentional injuries are illegal and violate the ethical principles. The ethical principle "No Harm" means that the physician should not intentionally harm the patient, the patient should not deliberately injure himself either. Both of them would be violated by the overuse of antibiotics. In medical treatments about antibiotics, physicians are obliged to act more logically and perform the right of intervening in the treatments when necessary.

Modern technology and industrial rationality are creating a growing gap between human and nature, and shadowing the symbiotic relationship between the two. People have the moral obligation for nature. Abusing of antibiotics is something greedy and out of control. It broke the natural balance, and under the natural forces, antibiotic resistant bacteria were created. The fact is that people will naturally be put on a firmer shackles for their greedy. If we want to meet demand, obey the rule of nature first.

According to the experience, we realised that there are few people knowing the detriment of antibiotics abuse, so we designed and conducted survey and interviews to investigate people’s thoughts. Understanding what the citizens know and need is the base of our project.

Social Justice

Although the academia is appealing to the restricted using of antibiotics, many developing countries do not have valid control measures. This phenomenon is not only related to the economics, but also a representation of some social problems.

According to reports in the People's Daily Online, the amount of antibiotics used in Chinese Mainland in 2003 had reached to 162,000 tons, which was about half of the amount in the world. In addition, more than 50,000 tons were discharged into soil and water. Although the Chinese Government has made laws to limit the use of antibiotics, the problem persists. In most hospitals, the use of antibiotics has been controlled suitably, while in clinics and meadows, supervision practices are insufficient. Why do some medical institutions overly rely on antibiotics? There’re three main reasons: high efficiency, the lack of cognition of antibiotics and the high profit of selling antibiotics. The rate of abuse depends on the economic condition, the gap between the wealthy and poor, the educational level and other social factors, which could not only be controlled by the policy. To solve this problem, we need to pay more attention to the social justice.

So, XMU-China produced leaflets to distribute to villagers in undeveloped areas, which popularized the knowledge of antibiotics. We tried our best to reduce the education gap between the wealthy and poor. The brochures we sent to university students appealed to those who were interested in synthetic biology or care about the social issues for joining us. The application of our engineering bacterium will promote social justice by decreasing the expense and it will be an easily-used tool to fight aginst antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Safety and Security

The generation of antibiotic resistance is the inevitable consequence of natural evolution, while the human intervention accelerates the pace of this process. In terms of animal husbandry and aquaculture, a serial problems, including the low education level of the practitioner, cause the overuse of antibiotics. The National report on bacterial drug resistance surveillance in 2015[1] showed that 2,400,786 drug-resistance bacteria were detected in 1,143 hospitals. The detection rate of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) whose fatality rate is 64% higher than normal Staphylococcus aureus, has reached 35.8%. The drug resistance will lead to a higher fatality rate of pathogens, threatening the cure rate of patients.

To spread the harm of antibiotics abuse and enhance the safety consciousness of children who are vulnerable, we visited a primary school and taught a meaningful class. We not only passed on the knowledge about synthetic biology and antibiotics to them, but also emphasized the safety of antibiotics use in a vivid method. The performance of the scene play did help them to thought highly of misuse of antibioics.

Intellectual Property Rights

With the development of the society, intellectual wealth become more and more important and intellectual property which is protected by law gets more attention. In our project, bacteriophage which infects the Escherichia coli. specifically and non-lethally is planned to be used. So we collected much information and found that the resource of phage is all mentioned in the wiki in other iGEM team’s project. We noticed that in the academic world, everyone takes intellectual property seriously. For the sake of expanding the breadth of our knowledge, a scholar in school of law, Xiamen university was interviewed and we learned that Ministry of science and technology of the People's Republic of China published special file to strengthen the intellectual property protection and managemen. We paid much attention to intellectual property rights during the process of our project and it should be taken seriously by other iGEM teams.


We built pervasive communication with many iGEM teams and the public. Newsletter is also an excellent way to establish dialogues.


Synthetic biology shows great potential on the sustainable development of the antibiotics treatment. And the engineering bacteria we designed which have the suicide system don’t have any environmental impact.


See the page of Best Education and Public Engagement for more details.


[1] National report on bacterial drug resistance surveillance in 2015. China Licensed Pharmacist 3, 3-8(2016).

Name: XMU-China School: Xiamen University

Address: Xiamen University, No. 422, Siming South Road, Xiamen, Fujian, P. R. China 361005

Name: XMU-China School: Xiamen University

Address: Xiamen University, No. 422, Siming South Road, Xiamen, Fujian, P. R. China 361005