Our team project:BIO-DOSIMETER

It is still sharp in our memory that, on March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the coast of Eastern Japan and triggered a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, leading to the nationwide nuclear crisis. While ‘Grays’, ‘Sieverts’, ‘exposure’, ‘equivalent dosage’ and other related terms and units became referred daily in the media, much of the general populace remained ignorant of their meanings and significance. The need for low-cost, portable and easy-to-use dosimeters was apparent as measurements of radiation exposure could only be conducted at dedicated installations spaced far apart and the numbers reported only infrequently.

Moved by that accident in iGEM 2011, we have built a synthetic biological dosimeter to detect the radiation. In this year we further develop that "Bio-dosimeter". Our "Bio-dosimeter" consists of two points: damage tolerance and radiation detection. To introduce the tolerance to E. coli, we are trying to put in some radiation resistance genes from Deinococcus radiodurans. For the detection of the radiation, we are trying to connect the native DNA damage response system of E. coli to production of pigment lycopene as a reporter.

Last year, we cloned selected genes from radiodurans genomic DNA and BioBricked them. We then conferred additional UV-induced DNA damage tolerance by transforming certain genes into E.coli. Now, we are attempting to assess its tolerance to various types of DNA damage and to evaluate DNA damage detection more clearly.

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