Two awards (Europe) :
Best Human Practices, Overgrad
Best Best Model, Overgrad
Advance to World Championship (USA)
Building on a long-standing French fascination for frogs, we wanted to spread this enthusiasm to the world of synthetic biology by introducing a new, vertebrate chassis to the community: Xenopus tropicalis.
This leap towards multicellular biological engineering required new tools, so we first developed a new set of frog compatible vectors, biobricked tissue specific promoters and a new technique to assemble them in a single shot.
To benefit from tissue compartmentalisation, we created a synthetic, orthogonal hormonal system using the plant molecule auxin. We also investigated E. coli / Xenopus interfacing, effectively creating a synthetic ecosystem. We modelled our system at the organism scale, using a multi-level and multi-technique approach.
Finally, working with whole animals during iGEM brought a load of difficult ethical questions regarding animal biotechnologies and experimentation. This led us to wonder: Are we a chassis?
For further information about the 2012 iGEM competition, visit the iGEM 2012 website.