Team:UNIST Korea


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Synthetic Microbes

Synthetic Microbes are gaining increased importance in 21 st century. Synthetic Microbes are more promising hosts for fuel production, bioremediation and many other potential processes. There is an increased dependence on the synthetic microbes even for certain basic needs such as medicine and fuels. However, synthetic microbes do not experience a warm welcome from the general public because they are believed to endanger the environment.Synthetic Microbes:

Can escape from its restricted area and can
Horizontally tranfer its genetic materials to pathogens leading to super bugs that can go
Out of control of human and
Cause epidemics; can
Obdurately occupy the universe and can be a
Lethal biological weapon hence synthetic microbes are being
Abjured by the world as they
Threaten the existing biodiversity and are believed to be
Environmentally damaging ELYZIANS

DNA is two sides of the same coin

All advances in synthetic biology is because of the tiny double helical molecule called DNA. All threats of synthetic biology is again because of these tiny molecules called DNA. Thus, DNA forms two sides of the same coin.

Overview of CHOCOLATE

CHOCOLATE project aims at eradicating the negative aspects of synthetic biology by exploiting the defence mechanism used by natural microbes to differentiate its genome from that of the foreign DNA. Natural microbes utilize a group of restriction enzymes like dam, dcm and dpn to diferentiate its DNA from that of the foreign DNA. We simply modified the host defence machanism such that the synthetic microbe would identify its genome as its native when it stays in its desired environment and the host defence will be switched OFF. However, when the synthetic microbe senses that it is in a non-native environment it would turn ON its host defence to destroy its own DNA and kill itself. Thus, this system would not only favor cell death but also ensure that all the genetic materials are destroyed and guarantee that there would be no horizontal gene transfer.