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USC iGEM 2012

Our project aims to create a new system to quantify the environmental conditions and their effect on the bacteria E.coli by engineering a system that causes a predictable response to a controlled environment. Many strains of E.coli possess flagella, a whip-like appendage that can be found protruding from both eukaryotic and prokaryotic single-celled organisms. The assembly and motor control of E.coli flagella is under the control of a key group of genetic factors primarily for flagella assembly and chemotactic control. Control of these genes can be regulated by creating various combinations of genetic promoters which control expression and activity of individual components of the flagella mechanism. By promoting the E.coli flagella genes in various conditions, such as salt concentration, nitrate concentration, pH and temperature, we can prove a significant change in flagella rotation and frequency. Ultimately, this frequency can be translated into an audible range which can act as an indicator of the bacteria’s distress based on varied environmental conditions. Thus, by specifying the bacteria’s response to an environment on a genetic level, the resulting frequency can be used as a convenient assay for future researchers to determine the response of their test subjects to a controlled environment.
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