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'Saca la Lengua' takes part in the General Assembly of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA)


Jue, 29/10/2015 - 17:15

'Saca la Lengua' takes part in the General Assembly of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA)

The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) will be holding its annual General Assembly in Barcelona on October 28-30. Throughout the three days of the event, over a hundred scientists and citizen science experts from Europe, the United States and Australia will be attending the Association's annual meeting, taking a first-hand look at the most innovative citizen science projects carried out in Barcelona.

Saca la Lengua’ (“Stick Out Your Tongue”), the first citizen science project to be led from the Centre for Genomic Regulation, will be featured in the “Barcelona Citizen Science Safari”. In the activity, to be held on the afternoon of October 28, participants follow a route through areas of special scientific relevance in Barcelona, and get to know ten local citizen science projects along the way. Throughout the route, which will take them along the Paso Marítimo esplanade and Ciutadella Park, participants will be invited to take part in hands-on demonstrations of the projects represented, which are: CitClops (Citizens’ Observatory for Coast and Ocean Optical Monitoring), Atrapaeltigre (Tigatrapp), Observadores del mar (Seawatchers), Flora Urbana y Alergias, BioBlitzBcn, Citi-Sense, Abejas Urbanas (Urban Bees), Bee-path and Saca la Lengua.

The opportunity to share ‘Saca la Lengua’ with colleagues and experts in citizen science at the international level has been very enriching. Our proposal has aroused a great deal of interest, because involving citizens in genomic sequencing projects isn't easy. ‘Saca la Lengua’ has overcome the barrier that biomedicine laboratories appear to face," states Annick Labeeuw, project manager of Saca la Lengua. “It has also been interesting to share with some of the participants a few of the challenges we are working with, such as the contest that is still open at" This contest makes the data collected throughout the project available to citizens so participants can contribute to the analysis of the data without needing to be experts in bioinformatics or biology.

As another part of the ECSA General Assembly, admission of ‘Saca la Lengua’ into the Citizen Science Office of Barcelona – Barcelona Lab will be announced and officialised. This office, created by the Directorate for Creativity and Innovation of the Barcelona Institute of Culture, groups together the main citizen science projects of the city. "Holding the third ECSA General Assembly in Barcelona consolidates the city in its position as one of the southern European leaders in Citizen Science." says Josep Perelló, principal investigator of the University of Barcelona OpenSystem group and coordinator of the event. These activities follow others already performed in this field, that were also participated in by ‘Saca la Lengua’. For example, the Barcelona Citizen Science Day, or the Citizen Science activities conducted for the Novum Science Festival of Barcelona.

About Saca La Lengua

“Stick Out Your Tongue” (‘Saca la Lengua’) is a CITIZEN SCIENCE project coordinated by the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in collaboration with the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and the "la Caixa" Foundation.

The project is based on analysis of the microbiome, or all of the microorganisms living in and on the human body in places like the mouth, intestines, skin, etc. In the “Stick Out Your Tongue” project, the focus will be on oral flora. Our primary objective will be to identify the diversity of bacteria and fungi present in the mouth and their variability from person to person. In a second phase, we will attempt to discover whether there is any relation between this variability and certain phenotypical or environmental characteristics of the individuals. The contest for data analysis is still open at

We hope that the data obtained with “Stick Out Your Tongue” can be added to the great many scientific projects on the microbiome now underway. It is a field of research that could have major repercussions for human health in the future. For example, there are already specific projects on intestinal microbiome transplants to treat infections, and it is hoped that this type of research can be applied to other parts of the body where microbiome is also present.

The project is innovative and different from all other existing microbiome-related projects for two reasons. First, it is the first wide-scale study that will attempt to also analyse the microscopic fungi that form part of oral flora. Second, it is a citizen science concept that does not require any financial contribution to participate in the project.

This project has received funding mainly from 'la Caixa' Foundation and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, ‘Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa 2013-2017’, SEV-2012-0208.