It being awarded by M.I.T and selected by the 2011 Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award in London and the Index design award in Denmark we introduce you a synthetic biology project that could affect in several way our daylife in near future.
Just imagine such a good bacteria that could live in your gut and give you an early-warning signal for an oncoming illness by turning your poop blue.
Some British scientists not just imagine this, but they realize it. In 2009, seven Cambridge University undergraduates spent the summer genetically engineering bacteria to secrete a variety of coloured pigments, visible to the naked eye. They designed standardised sequences of DNA, known as BioBricks, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria.
Each BioBrick part contains genes selected from existing organisms spanning the living kingdoms, enabling the bacteria to produce a colour: red, yellow, green, blue, brown or violet. By combining these with other BioBricks, bacteria could be programmed to do useful things, such as indicate whether drinking water is safe by turning red if they sense a toxin. This is the start of E.Chromi project, in a collaboration between designers and scientists in the new field of synthetic biology.
Why is this discovery so important?
They are bacteria that can tell you the concentration of a pollutant in water, and they can do this because inside them they have a detector. A useful feature that could effect our daylife in several ways from potable water detecting to edible color industry.
What would be the near future with E.Chromi?
Designers Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and James King worked with the team to explore the potential of this new technology, while it was being developed in the lab. They designed a timeline proposing ways that a foundational technology such as E. chromi could develop over the next century. These scenarios include food additives, patenting issues, personalised medicine, terrorism and new types of weather.
Following some timeline’s step; you will find them also in the video above:
Using E. chromi, the first biosensors appear for cheap testing of drinking water in the developing world.
From canary-yellow M&Ms to melanin-coloured Coke, food colourings are made by bacteria. Professional Colour Hunters scour the biosphere, collecting genes that generate rare pigments to sell to industry.
Cheap, personalised disease monitoring now works from the inside out. Ingested as yoghurt, E. chromi colonise the gut. The bacteria keep watch for chemical markers of diseases and can produce easy- to-read warning signals.
Red Sky in the Morning,
Google Health Warning
Google releases pollution-mapping bacteria that colour the sky red in zones of excess carbon dioxide. Diplomatic warfare erupts as they drift across international airspace.