Valencia UPV iGEM is a multidisciplinary team born with the aim of developing a unique project and impact in the field of Synthetic Biology. The project is part of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, the most important Synthetic Biology competition in the world. Annually, more than 300 university teams (about 5600 students, instructors and advisors) participate in the Giant Jamboree event, held in Boston, in which they show their projects developed over several months of work. For more than 10 years, iGEM has been encouraging students to work together to solve real-world challenges by designing, realizing, and achieving their own projects during the summer months.
Since 2006, our team participates in the iGEM contest developing innovative, cooperative and multidisciplinary projects. In all these years, the UPV team has always been awarded the Gold Medal, and has received numerous special prizes awarded by the competition. It is worth mentioning that, with the last project presented in 2018, Printeria, the Valencia UPV iGEM team won the competition with the prize for best project, the Grand Prize, surpassing more than 200 universities around the world. In addition, it received five special awards: Best Hardware, Best Software, Best Model, Best Wiki and Best New Application project and the Gold Medal.
In this academic year 2019-2020, the organizers of Valencia UPV iGEM intend to form a new team that continues in the line of success of recent years, fighting for prizes and maximum distinctions. With this, we hope to show the strength of multidisciplinarity in this type of competitions as a formula for success, so characteristic of the UPV and the Generación Espontánea group.
The high costs of laboratories and the need for experience in the field have limited access to Synthetic Biology since its inception. Printeria is a fully-equiped bioengineering device capable of modifying bacteria to obtain tangible phenotypes. In short, a whole cloning process contained in a single device which is as easy to operate as a home printer.
Printeria includes an extensive collection of DNA parts, which using Golden Gate Technology, will be assembled to obtain different transcriptional units, so that they are expressed in specific bacterial chassis.
This process is posible thanks to the use of digital microfluidic system, which is a novel system than can mix and move the substrates of the reactions and, definitively, control all biotechnological processes with high accuracy.
Everyone want their plants to be as tall, beautiful and fast-growing as possible, to have juicy and tasty fruits and/or to have high yield. However, achieving those goals is difficult since they depend on external and non-controllable factors. Would not it be great if farmers and plant breeders know the exact amount of water or nutrients their plants need? Or control when their crops flower or when fruits are produced?
Bearing that in mind we designed a plant genetic circuit that confers us the ability to communicate with plants. That is, making plants to respond our commands subsequently and transmit information to us. This is possible thanks to a genetic circuit. We aim to help increasing food security by developing a new and sustainable agriculture. An agriculture that depends less on external factors and more on farmers and plant breeders.
HYPE-IT intends to decrease current technological barriers for breeding local crops with innovative SynBio-technology based on CRISPR/Cas9 tools. The global strategy of HYPE-IT is to increase food productivity and ensure high-quality foodstuff. Furthermore, HYPE-IT incorporates a software tool in order to easily associate specific gene targets with its phenotypic trait. A modular gene circuit is designed to ensure proper performance strategy and an affordable Lab Ware is designed with the necessary laboratory equipment in order to democratize genome engineering.
Conventional bioproduction methods require huge and specialized infrastructures, difficulting the fulfilment of the manufacturing needs in remote locations. AlaDNA is an innovative genetic design aimed to encode the manufacturing instructions for several bioproducts as genetic information. It is also capable to process this information on demand as single output products in response to the user´s wishes. Just like a genie in a lamp!
This system uses DNA to store information, acting as a miniaturized and flexible biofactory capable of producing different bioproducts. AladDNA can activate the production of different products upon the reception of external signals based on combinations of light stimuli. AlaDNA allows bioproduction in any condition avoiding prohibitive costs due to infrastructures.
Every year, a significant part of the production crops is lost due to pests. Becoming a pest control strategy to reduce economical loss is Sexy Plant’s goal. Sexy Plant is a modified plant which can produce and release different moth pheromones. By releasing them, males cannot find females, so the crop-damaging larvae are not born. Biosafety is a major concern in our project, so we have design a module that avoid its genetic material to spread via pollen. Furthermore, we’ve included a genetic switch which that control the production and release of the pheromones, so we can apply it willingly or when it’s needed.