IGEM 2005 - Project Summaries

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Summaries for some of the iGEM 2005 projects

  1. “Biowire” - The goal of this project was to create a biological circuit that would propagate a chemical signal down the length of a “wire.” The chemical signal was formed by quorum sensing molecules, while the “wire” was formed by living e.coli cells stamped onto a device in the shape of a circuit wire using photolithography.
  2. “Biosketch” – Create designs using an erasable “pen” on a living canvas made from e.coli cells. The “pen” used was UV light, and its changes could be erased using heat. Input from the pen would affect the switch state of Lac operon proteins, causing visible changes.
  1. “Bacterial Photography” (see also 2004 project)
  2. “Light Wires” -
  3. “Edge Detector” (see also 2004 project) Detect and produce output only at the boundary between light and dark. In this system, a lawn of genetically identical precursor E.coli would be subjected to a light image, and only those cells at the light/dark boundary would become active and express a genetic reporter.
  1. “Cell-see-us” – Create a tuneable thermometer. Detect changes in temperature by measuring the changes in the status of proteins in the Lac operon.
  2. “Bacterial Etch-a-sketch” – Draw and erase on an e.coli canvas. Drawing was achieved by adding lactose to cell culture, while erasing was done using tetracycline. These two chemicals act on the Lac operon to switch visual cell output.
  1. “Chemical Decoder” – Create a device for detecting differences between eight different combinations of three chemicals. This would be achieved through a system of RNA switches that are controlled by 3 different aptamers (binding agents). The device would give a different visual output for any one of 8 different combinations of inputs.
  1. “Counter” - Design of a finite state machine that counts concentration changes of a protein. Counting to 2 can be achieved by building a device out of two switches. By combining n such devices counting to 2 to the power of n can be achieved.
  1. “Biological Internet” - Fabrication of a cell-to-cell “encrypted” communication system. Communication was achieved through passing genetic mRNA messages on a plasmid between cells using the process of bacterial conjugation. Encryption was achieved through the use of RNA “locks”.
  1. “Relay Race” – Sequentially induce motility in e.coli cell. The “baton” handed off between cells would be the quorum sensing molecule. This signal would toggle a genetic switch formed from the Lac operon machinery, whose state would determine whether a cell grew a flagellum (thus enabling mobility).
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