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Wiki Under Construction

project description

This year’s project is two-fold, and it involves engineering Arabidopsis thaliana with two constructs
that would be important proof of concepts for further studies of feasibility in crops. Furthermore, the
project will address the pressing need of iGEM-compatible BioBricks specific to plants , which would
allow an increase focus on important agricultural research for iGEM teams worldwide.

          part I

The availability of soil phosphorous is considered globally to be a limiting factor of productivity for
a significant majority of agricultural land. Phosphorus-based fertilizers are used to avoid this
deficiency. Most of the fertilizer, however, often becomes fixed into inorganic and organic fractions,
and consequently is unavailable to plant roots. Moreover, according to Environment Canada, phosphorus
enrichment and runoff into surface waters “continues to be a national issue ” .The first construct of
this project would allow for extracellular secretion of phytase from Arabidopsis roots allowing the
plants to utilize the accumulated forms of soil organic phosphorus (primarily, phytate), which
otherwise would not be available to the plant.

          part II

With the sole exception of low elevation equatorial ecosystems, plants anywhere else are often subject to
temperatures that are often lower than their threshold for growth and survival. The second construct for
this project aims to increase the range of tolerance to low temperature stress in Arabidoposis by
incorporating an antifreeze protein in the plant. This builds on Yale’s project last year.

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