Team:Paris Bettencourt/Modularity


iGEM Paris Bettencourt 2012




We didn't invent a new application of genetically modified bacteria (GMB) for a reason: our systems are to be used with other SynBio community members’ projects.

bWARE: biodegradable, biological wetware. We will provide the iGEM community with tools that help make their projects safer. Bioremediation, biosensors, useful agricultural tools, projects that fight diseases, these are the kinds of ideas that make iGEM great. We believe that synthetic biology has the power to change the world for the better, and we want to support our belief by taking steps toward making environmental applications of GMB a reality.


We aim to create biosafety systems that will be modular with other iGEM teams’ environmental GMB applications. After creation of these systems, we intend to demonstrate this modularity by using the

Biosafety: Modular by Design

We have made efforts to design biosafety systems that will not interfere with the operation of other synthetic systems. In general, this means we have attempted to use more exotic, less used parts in the design of our systems. Modularity is a difficult goal, but a good one to strive for in order to make environmental GMB a standardized practice.

The following is an overview of the design choices that we made in order to maintain system modularity.

Integration of Synthetic systems on self-destructed plasmids

Because the synthetic genes are of highest priority for containment and destruction, they can be integrated on our restriction site-bearing plasmids. After the delay system runs its course, restriction enzymes will be expressed to self destruct the plasmids that created them, along with any other added genes. This way, engineered genes will always be some of the first to go.

Multiple promoter choices for restriction enzyme

One approach to modularity is ensuring that there are choices that all work equally well in our system. We have attempted to use three different repressible promoters for regulation of the restriction enzyme.

siRNA delay system

[unique, highly modular]

Rhamnos promoter

[exotic promoter]

Semantic Containment

Our semantic containment system is highly modular because all that needs to be done to give any gene semantic containment is to change a few codons.


This mainly physical containment system should be able to be applied to most synthetic systems. Physical properties of alginate beads such as size, porosity and stabilized thickness can be modulated by changing the protocol of bead formation.

Modular Applications

We searched through many years’ worth of iGEM projects looking for the best, most functional and interesting biobricks that could be applied to the environment.

Nitrate Reporter

Additional Characterization

Present your results

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