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Make it or Break it: Diesel Production and Gluten Destruction, the Synthetic Biology Way

==Synthetic biology holds great promise regarding the production of important compounds, and the degradation of harmful ones. This summer, we harnessed the power of synthetic biology to meet the world’s needs for fuel and medicine.

Make It: We constructed a strain of Escherichia coli that produces a variety of alkanes, the main constituents of diesel fuel, by introducing a pair of genes recently shown convert fatty acid synthesis intermediates into alkanes.

Break It: We identified a protease with gluten-degradation potential, and then reengineered it to have greatly increased gluten-degrading activity, allowing for the breakdown of gluten in the digestive track when taken in pill form. Finally, to enable next-generation cloning of standard biological parts, BioBrick vectors optimized for Gibson assembly were constructed and used to construct the Magnetosome Toolkit: genes for biofabrication of magnetic particles.== Washington Spacer.jpg Oil Sands Leadership Intiative University of Washington Anaspec Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy