In our project we work with the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus - namely the strain UTEX 2973. In the past phototrophic organisms were underrepresented in the iGEM competition due to their slow growth rate and a lack of easy methods for genetic manipulation. But we chose the cyanobacteria Synechococcus elongatus strain UTEX 2973 because of its amenability to genetic modifications and its extraordinary doubling time of 1.5 hours. We want to provide a fast growing and easy to handle chassis for other iGEM teams to encourage them to work with phototrophic organisms. To establish our chassis, we tailor strains to suit to several experimental setups and domesticate a wild type plasmid for further genetic manipulation.
In contrast to E. coli which relies on the expensive carbohydrate glucose, Synechococcus elongatus can be grown using only CO2 and Light. Thus, using this chassis high value compounds can be sustainably produced.
We believe however that such iGEM projects could have a meaningful impact and will be a huge benefit to other teams and synthetic biology. Many thanks to everyone supporting us and helping us realize this project.