Students of the University of Groningen achieved the highest category in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM 2010) in Boston. The team was presented with a gold medal.
The students designed a bacterium that can be used as an environmentally-friendly coating to combat unwanted fouling on ship hulls. This helps the ships to save fuel.
The iGEM is an annual contest for students of Synthetic Biology. Contestants take part in a research project in which a bacterium is designed or redesigned so that it can fulfil a certain function. The research was presented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston between 5 October and 8 November.
Each year at the beginning of the summer, students taking part in the iGEM competition receive a kit containing biological parts and components from MIT’s Registry of Standard Biological Parts. During the summer they use these in their own designs in order to create new biological systems. The students participated with a Bacillus subtilis bacterium that they had modified to the extent that it could produce hydrophobic (water repellent) proteins. The bacterium forms a solid layer on surfaces and can function as a coating.
The team from Groningen was made up of twelve students representing different degree programmes (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology and Journalism).
Note for the press
More information: Prof. O.P. Kuipers, tel. +31 (0)50 363 2093/2092, e-mail: o.p.kuipers rug.nl
See also: www.igem.org
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