Students from University Politecnic of Valencia win the iGEM contest with a DNA 'printer'
A team of students of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) has won the iGEM 2018 contest, the most important synthetic biology competition on the planet, held in Boston (US). A total of 343 institutions from all over the world participated in the competition, including the most advanced universities: Harvard, Yale, Oxford, MIT, Cambridge, Imperial College of London, Columbia, San Diego, ETH Zurich, Stanford, Munich, Delft, UCLA, Sorbonne, Aalto ...
In addition to the first prize, the UPV team has received five special awards; Best Project with New Application; Best Software; Better Hardware; Best Wiki and Best Modeling.
Printeria, a machine to print bacterial DNA.
The project developed by the ten students of the Universitat Politècnica de València is called Printeria, a device the size of a shoebox capable of printing on the bacterial DNA. Nowadays, it is thought of as a powerful didactic, artistic tool and as a laboratory process automation system. But in the mid term, it could even be used to print insulin at home, the authors claim.
Printeria consists of software, hardware and a compact laboratory kit. And, despite its appearance, it is as simple to operate as a home printer. In fact, it has a system for loading liquids in the manner of printer cartridges, and like them, they are replaced by refills when they are exhausted. "It's intuitive, it's simple, it's domestic and it can change the world."
Like other revolutionary 3D printers, Printeria does not use ink as a printing material, but a large collection of DNA pieces that, thanks to GoldenBraid technology, are assembled to obtain different transcription units, which genetically modify a specific bacterial chassis.
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open community and collaboration.
iGEM runs three main programs: the iGEM Competition - an international team competition made up of predominantly undergraduate students interested in the field of synthetic biology; the Labs Program - a program for academic labs to use the same resources as the competition teams; and the Registry of Standard Biological Parts - a growing collection of genetic parts use for building biological devices and systems.