To ensure the feasibility, scientificity and practicality of the project. We searched for the social hotspots ,communicated with tutors, enterprises, professional and non-professional when selecting topics. We also carry out diversified integrated human practices(HP).

We used a lot of methods to conduct HP. For example, we collect opinions by means of questionnaires, telephone connections, and online meetings. Field research, experimental tests , and offline communication help us to evaluate our project. We also invite other laboratories to test our components like Prof Li's laboratory. At the same time, in order to make synthetic biology accessible to the public we take the way of public number tweeting and popularising science to.

This page will introduce HP according to the timeline from project selection to project completion.

We are so grateful for people who helped us!


1.1 Three of Our initial inspirations

After the brain storm and the questionnaires, we carry out three topics.

Q1 Thoughts on Synthetic Biology (for peers)

Q2 Thoughts on Synthetic Biology (for non-peers)

①:synthesis of natural pigments

From the colours of Dunhuang murals that have survived thousands of years of sand and wind, to the brilliant colours of "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" they all due to the traditional Chinese painting pigments. Ancient Chinese people extracted pigments from ores, plants and animals. However, due to the protection of the environment, the collection of some pigments of plant and animal origin has been prohibited, and the difficulty of obtaining raw materials has caused great trouble to the restoration of cultural relics.

Rubia tinctorum grows in Xinjiang, contain alizarin and Alizarin violet, which produce a red colour called "qian", it is the earliest dye discovered in China. We would like to produce this pigments by engineering bacteria.

Fig 1 Blanket unearthed in the ancient city of Loulan(the red part of it was colored by Rubia tinctorum )

②Degradation of LBC

Lignocellulosic biomass (LBC) is the most abundant renewable biological resource on earth, which can be converted into cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin through degradation. Hemicellulose and lignin can be further degradation into glucose or pentose, and finally become ethanol which can be fuel. Currently used lignin-degrading enzymes have poor robustness and low efficiency, so we propose to excavate a gene that can efficiently degrade lignocellulose and produce industrial lignin-degrading enzymes by synthetic biology

③Find a gene sequence to enhance the robustness of microorganism

China has a rich and diverse natural environment, rainforests, salt lakes, deserts and glaciers. These natural environments also provide abundant microbial resources, and some microorganisms have developed unique coping mechanisms to adapt to extreme environments such as drought, salinity, etc. We would like to figure out their coping mechanisms and modify E. coli to improve its resilience.

We asked the teacher's opinion and finally decided to choose a topic ③

1.2 Feedback of Our Questionnaires

In January 2023, we sent out a questionnaire to publics asking their opinions about our topic.

Q3 A survey about strains with high salinity and base resistance

This survey had 2,744 participants,with 40% of the participants working in biology-related jobs and 30% in industry-related jobs.

73% of these participants were plagued by low salinity and base tolerance of microorganisms, and 14% were severely affected.

For those who choose"they were plagued " in the previous question. Most(83%) people say this impact is centred on economic loss. And nearly all people(94%)say they have to invest money and energy to regulate HP to ensure the production.

Then we ask them what kind of way they wanted to improve the strain’s tolerance. Half (49%) choose the genetic method.

Finally we learnt about their need for this kind of microorganism, 38% believe that it give them great help and 46% think it will help to a certain extent.


2.1 Communicate with Angle Yeast

We connect Angle Yeast Company. We communicate with Zhengfei Xian(Head of Production), Gang Liu(Head of Technical Quality), Tao Zuo(Vice President of Security), Furong Wei(Head of Experimentation). During the communation we learnt about the production process of yeast products, the methods they regulate ph, their need for yeast to resistant salt and base. After we presented our ideas, they reminded us about food safety. Because, so far, public acceptance of GM food is very low. If we want to apply this gene in yeast, we can choose the by-product line instead of putting the gene into the yeast using for fermentation.

2.2 Talk with the engineer Nan Zhang

We talk to engineer Nan Zhang. He made it clear how difficult it is to develop the project from the lab to factory for large-scale applications.

For example, how to introduce these saline resistance genes into engineered bacteria efficiently? How to ensure accuracy? How to reduce technology costs for industry if they want to use this project?

Therefore, at that moment, we doubted about our project and the consequent restless concerns pushed us to re-consider the application of projects. With these considerations we redefined the project's application areas.


In order to expand access to synthetic biology, XJU_CHINA has designed a variety of teaching methods to optimise the effect of targeting different populations.

3.1 Primary School Teaching

In 2023 we travelled on a mission trip to the primary school where Xinjiang University has been helping to develop the economy.

Upon arriving there, we found that local educational resources in the area were scarce. In the classroom, we supplemented the students with basic knowledge, taught them the fundamentals of synthetic biology, and shared our lab life to promote synthetic biology to the mountainous areas and lay the foundation for a synthetic biology revolution in the underdeveloped regions.

3.2High School Teaching

In order to expand access to synthetic biology, XJU_CHINA has designed a variety of teaching methods to optimise the effect of targeting different populations.

A month after the presentation, we made a written return visit. Three students became very interested in synthetic biology as a result of our presentation and gave us handwritten letters of reflection.

3.3Talk with the public

For all the public, we set up accounts on wechat, ins, and X(twitter) and published science articles weekly.