Navigation Links
iGEM team helps prevent rogue use of synthetic biology
Date:10/17/2010

A team of students from ENSIMAG, an engineering school in Grenoble, France, and Virginia Tech is using bioinformatics to implement federal guidance on synthetic genomics. The students' work will help gene synthesis companies and their customers better detect the possible use of manufactured DNA as harmful agents for bioterrorism.

Synthetic biology offers huge potential for practical applications in medicine, energy production, agriculture, and other areas. For a few thousand dollars, it is now possible to design custom DNA sequences the size of a viral genome, order these sequences from a DNA manufacturer, and receive the DNA in the mail within a few weeks. Experts are concerned, however, about the potential misuse of these emerging technologies and that is where the student's project could play a key role in preventing synthetic biology malpractice.

Jean Peccoud, associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech and leader of Virginia Tech's iGEM initiatives, said, "The students have taken great strides in implementing different possible interpretations of the federal recommendations. Their work characterizes the relationship between the computational cost of the screen and its sensitivity. This independent scientific analysis will identify practical solutions compatible with the operational constraints of commercial operators and refine policies aimed at protecting the nation without undermining its competitiveness."

Algorithms under development assess how similar a specific DNA sequence is to entries in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Select Agent and Toxin List. Keyword lists help to track down matches and allow for continual fine-tuning of the effectiveness of each search. The students are compiling a database of test cases that allows them to estimate the performance of different screening strategies.

Edward You, supervisory special agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, had the opportunity to visit VBI on June 4 and gave a seminar entitled "Biosecurity: The roles and responsibilities of academia and law enforcement". During his visit, he met with some of the students working on the iGEM project. "The students should be commended for tackling a real-life problem directly related to national security needs," said Agent You. By working on this significant project, they are actively participating in the development of responsible practice for this transformative science, which is exactly what the government of this country wants to encourage." He added: "It is very promising to see undergraduate students at iGEM engage their peers in thinking about biosecurity. The groundbreaking work of this international team impacts the safety of people around the globe."

Skip Garner, executive director of VBI, commented: "This project would not have been possible without the support of the MITRE Corporation and Science Applications International Corporation. The sponsorship of these two industrial organizations, widely recognized for their expertise in defense and security, will certainly help transform these scientific results into meaningful outcomes for society."

The final results of the Virginia Tech-ENSIMAG biosecurity team's analyses will be presented in November at the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) synthetic biology competition organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Barry Whyte
whyte@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-1767
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Healthcare Network Helps Fund Scholarships Totaling $15,000
2. US Oncology Helps Deliver Latest Cancer Therapies Through Local Community Access to Cutting Edge Research
3. iGEM team helps prevent rogue use of synthetic biology
4. Bigge Helps Build New USTAR Complex at the University of Utah
5. Elekta / Mitsubishi Electric Collaboration Helps Japans Gunma University Heavy Ion Medical Center Launch Advanced Carbon Ion Therapy for Treating Cancer
6. Online Video of InVitria's Zap-CHO Helps Scientists Maximize CHO Cell Culture Performance
7. Thermofab Helps Brookfield Engineering Move To A Compact Custom Plastic Enclosure
8. Cryo-Cell Internationals Stem Cell Research and Development Helps the Fight Against Breast Cancer
9. FLAVORx Helps Families Fight Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus By Making Antiviral Medicine Taste Better
10. New Call Center Helps Ovarian Cancer Patients Cope With Challenges of Diagnosis
11. MRI simulation of blood flow helps plan childs delicate heart surgery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... Today, ... CLEARAS Water Recovery’s Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery (ABNR™) technology at its 4,000,000 gallon ... million plant upgrade to sustainably meet current and future nutrient discharge regulations. The ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Firmex today announced ... it easy for organizations to send and gather large files and confidential documents ... email file size limitations. , Using the same market-tested infrastructure as Firmex’s ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... Photonics 2017 in San Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers ... and autonomous vehicles. , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Cambridge Semantics , the leading provider of ... Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in Boston May 23-25 with a featured speaker ... Anzo Smart Data Lake is also a finalist for the Best of Show award. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... 2017   EyeLock LLC , a leader of ... States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. ... of an iris image with a face image acquired ... company,s 45 th issued patent. ... given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company that ... North America , today announced a Series B ... of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s ... to transform population health activities through the collection and ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):