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Open-source software designed to minimize synthetic biology risks
Date:3/21/2011

ience and biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Gaelle Letort and Olivier Mirat, visiting students from ENSIMAG, an engineering school in Grenoble, France are undergraduate students who worked with Peccoud and were part of a team of undergraduate students enrolled in the 2010 International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition. The other two authors are Laura Adam, graduate research assistant, and Mandy Wilson, database administrator with Peccoud's group

"This project exemplifies how it is possible to train students to use interdisciplinary strategies to confront today's most important scientific problems," said Virginia Tech Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel Wubah. "By breaking down the separation of basic and applied research, and by combining engineering and life science expertise, this team has made a valuable contribution to a real-world problem directly related to the security of our nation."

Since the first synthetic cell in May 2010, the security and ethical aspects of synthetic biology have been debated in congressional hearings and by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and the National Academy of Science, among others.

"While the U.S. government does not endorse any particular tools, as stated in the Guidance, the U.S. government is supportive of efforts to develop new and improved methods to screen double-stranded DNA sequences for biosecurity purposes," explained Capt. Theresa Lawrence of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "We applaud efforts to advance this important field of science and enhance security."


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Contact: Susan Trulove
strulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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