UNL iGEM Team Begins Research on New Project

June 28, 2018 - 9:49am

The University of Nebraska’s iGEM team has started its newest project in preparation for an upcoming competition this fall. iGEM stands for International Genetically Engineered Machine and is an international competition in which teams compete with a variety of research projects.

Teams decide on a project and work to genetically engineer organisms, typically different types of bacteria, to solve an issue. Many of the projects are environmentally focused.

The UNL iGEM team project this year focuses on the detection of the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB for short. These beetles are an invasive species that can be detrimental to an environment as they kill trees.

The team hopes its compound, developed with synthetic biology, will be able to attract the beetles to various traps throughout the state. This will help with prevention of spreading and allow the state to remedy some of the sick trees.

Senior Computer Engineering major, Tyler Barker, said iGEM offers new opportunities for him.

“My favorite part of it is the inter-disciplinary aspect of it, so right now I’m a computer engineering student, and so without iGEM I wouldn’t have the ability to learn a different subject like synthetic biology, or biology in general,” Barker said.

The team will be conducting research throughout the summer to prepare for the competition during the fall semester.

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