Gen9 Announces Winners of Fourth Annual G-Prize
News Oct 04, 2016
Gen9 has announced the winners of its fourth annual G-Prize contest. Miller, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Synthetic Biology at University of East Anglia (UEA) and Biosyntia were selected by an independent panel of judges for their entries showcasing creative usage of synthetic biology to accelerate research and product development. Each winner will receive 500,000 base pairs of synthetic DNA manufactured on Gen9’s BioFab® platform.
Dr. Miller was awarded the G-Prize academic track for his proposal for re-wiring signaling circuits in plants by decoding calcium signals. His research will provide tremendous insight into yield and productivity constraints placed on plants by high-stress environmental conditions, and will create a system for the discovery of new biotechnology targets to improve crop performance.
“Being named as a winner of the G-Prize is a great accomplishment for our lab and will have lasting ramifications on our research,” said Dr. Miller. “By using our rationally designed approach and building calcium-decoding proteins from scratch with Gen9 DNA, we will be able to test a great number of variables concurrently and gather insights regarding plant behavior and stress responses much more quickly than before.”
The G-Prize start-up track prize was awarded to Biosyntia. The winning project from Biosyntia involves the creation of engineered cell factories for the production of natural vitamins. Biosyntia will use Gen9 DNA to develop an integrated pipeline that combines the power of gene synthesis with synthetic selections for optimization of vitamin metabolic pathways.
“Gen9’s technology complements our own pre-existing technologies, allowing us to break free of the confines of native metabolism and test more efficient enzymes from the great treasures of nature,” said Hans Genee, Co-Founder and CSO at Biosyntia. “Winning the G-Prize grants us access to the large amount of synthetic DNA that we need to achieve our research goals.”
“When we created the G-Prize, we wanted to inspire scientists to think big as they design their projects. With a record number of G-Prize applications and the tremendous interest in our high-throughput DNA synthesis technology, it’s clear that scientists are doing just that,” said Kevin Munnelly, President and CEO of Gen9. “We are thrilled to be a part of the progressive research underway at Dr. Miller’s lab and at Biosyntia.”
The G-Prize contest was launched by Gen9 in 2012 to support innovation in the field of synthetic biology. Past G-Prize awards have fueled innovative research projects in fields as diverse as development of renewable energy sources, reprogramming protein interactions, deciphering cellular networks, computational design of antibodies, and microbial refactoring for space exploration.
Giant Viruses Invent Their Own GenesNews
Three new members have been isolated and added to the Pandoravirus family. This strange family of viruses, with their giant genomes and many genes with no known equivalents, surprised scientists when they were discovered a few years ago. This new study notes that pandoraviruses appear to be factories for new genes – and therefore new functions.
Therapeutic CRISPR Could Be Cancer RiskNews
Therapeutic use of gene editing with the so-called CRISPR-Cas9 technique may inadvertently increase the risk of cancer, according to a new study. Researchers say that more studies are required in order to guarantee the safety of these ‘molecular scissors’ for gene-editing therapies.