Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jam07 - Calgary - "Developing A Genetic Printer"

The project we selected was to design and build a biomechanical printer; composed of a two dimensional plotter equipped with a red laser, software to translate computer images into instructions for the plotter, and E. coli cells engineered to respond to the laser light. Bacteria are spread in a solid lawn on the plate, or mixed in the media before pouring the plate. The response triggered by this biological circuit will produce beta agarase, an enzyme which degrades the agar polymer that the cells rest on. The printer can then be used to "draw" high resolution images on the bacteria with the laser. The bacteria will then dissolve the agar where the laser was shone. This results in Bacterial Lithography, where the dissolved agar forms a picture. Cool eh. We also chose a second project to include in our entry to the competition this year. That is an in Silico Biobrick Evolution system. The purpose of this project is to design a system that will accept user entered parametres and use them to search through the registry database. Using the given parametres the system will try to construct circuts (a series of biobricks) that will produce the desired product. More information on this project can be found in our evoGEM sections. Our team investigated a number of potential projects before selecting our light sensing printer. This section offers a brief outline of some of the ideas we considered.

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