Since its inception, our project was aimed directly towards helping society. Our main goal was to update a process for a dying industry in Mexico. Sugar cane, once an agricultural product of international value, is now left to wither due to high production costs, low demand and the rise of alternative sweeteners. Millions of Mexican families depend on the sugar cane factories located in their villages; not only is their income in peril, but their very way of life.
We hope to address an old but growing problem. This is something overlooked due to the development of new issues and new difficulties, but something that we think deserves our time and effort. We propose an alternative production scheme that might serve to revive an industry. From sugar cane, we can extract sucrose, which then can be transformed into fructose and used in the current sweetening processes. With the immobilization method we use, the number of steps are reduced and production costs are reduced. If this process is improved, a new demand for sugar cane arises, which has the potential for a significant prositive impact on the lives of millions of Mexicans.
We believe that synthetic biology is not only for increasing knowledge, but it also provides a platform for research projects and studies that are aimed towards helping people improve their quality of life. Hence, iGEM encourages teams around the world to promote synthetic biology in their local communities. In order to fulfill this task, we organized a series of activities during our summer and the beginning of our semester.

We also worked collabratively with the technology department in order to develop an augmented reality software. Using physical marks and a webcam we are able to create a real-time interaction program that allows you to assemble biobricks. This can be used to build genetic constructs with a user-friendly-interfase that can store 3D symbolic models of constructions. As a teaching tool, it can be used as representations of biobricks in a more immersive way, being able not only to control the assembly of genetic constructions but also to learn about the interactions between prefixes and suffixes.
This software, along with the instructions for use, is available here.

Our main event in took place during the summer when we hosted a meeting for all the Mexican teams in our campus. We held a series of conferences in order to discuss synthetic and molecular biology, not only the research projects or the technological aspects of the new advances and discoveries but also, the ethical impact our field has in people’s daily lives.
We also saved a special part in our congress to discuss and review the difficulties of importing genetic material into Mexico. Not only our team, but also our fellow teams, had problems receiving our kits. The Customs Agency in our country gave us a hard time but, with the help of Manuel Tiscareño (customer manager of Fedex at the Monterrey International Airport) , we were able to understand the bureaucratic process behind the entrance of biological material and find a solution to these problems.
We were very glad to receive our kit but we were also very happy that we could help our fellow teams along the way. If you would like to read the full note, click here .

One of the first steps we took was writing a series of articles discussing the myths and facts of biotechnology. They were published in our school’s journalism webpage. Thanks to the ene.pé group (New Press), we had a place to review biofuels, genetic modified organisms and stem cells. In Mexican society, any modification in the natural structure of an organism is seen as taboo, hence, what we hoped to accomplish was to familiarize people with such terms by giving them clear and concise answers about biotechnology.
(The ene.pé website is undergoing a few server changes, but our articles will be available soon.)

An introductory workshop to the processes of synthetic biology was offered to freshmen students at our University campus. We worked with a DNA extraction kit, a common task in the lab, but since all the labs safety rules were followed strictly, students received a clear idea of what it's like to work on a research project.

Last but not least, we created an animation video in order to explain our process. We hoped to represent in a simple yet beautiful way how the enzyme immobilization process takes place. This video was made with Maya 2012, under the sponsorship granted by Autodesk to all iGEM teams. Anita Sifuentes, the team’s animation student, knows that designing with educational purposes in mind is a difficult task. It is not the easiest of jobs, but it is the one with the most impact and, for her, it’s also the most rewarding.

You can watch the video in our Main tab or by clicking here .
Recently a note related to our video went up in our Autodesk blog, which can be read here.