SupBiotech IONIS iGem Team Goes to Competition with Crop-Protecting Prototype

IONIS iGem Team Goes to Competition with Crop-Protecting Prototype

Nicolas Delettre, Gaétan Christien, and Thomas Lhernould

Each year since its creation by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2004, the number of teams taking place in the iGEM synthetic biology contest has grown.

The international competition has particular importance in France, where teams receive government support and grants in order to promote research and make science more interesting for lay audiences.

IONIS Education Group will be sending its student team to the competition this year with a concept aimed at improving crop resistance to extreme temperatures.

The team has developed a novel prototype for a temperature-activated crop protecting compound that would activate different chemical reactions to respond to different weather conditions. One type of compound would be only be produced below freezing, and another will only be produced at temperatures high enough to harm crops. The prototype is called SofterShock and is in the testing stage.

The chemical reactions depends on the changing shape of certain molecules in response to weather conditions, which relies on RNA modeling. RNA is notoriously difficult to model through normal modeling methods, however. The team therefore decided to use computer-based modeling methods to simulate, analyze and design the structure of the molecules used in their prototype.

The students in the team, Nicolas Delettre, Gaétan Christien, and Thomas Lhernould, said that although they want to create an excellent prototype, their long-term goal is to “understand the factors that determine the optimal interactions between the different molecules in [our] plasmids and ribosomes”, and contribute to scientific knowledge of molecule interactions by publishing their findings in a scientific journal. This would be valuable because the detailed structures of their RNA molecules are unknown.

“Our work and publication in this area could demonstrate the utility of molecular modeling and make it more accessible to others teams”, they said in a statement.

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About Sup’Biotech

Sup’Biotech is a school specialized in Biotechnology which provide an
innovative course taught over 5 years after the highschool Degree.
The school is close to both the world of scientific research as well as the
corporate world ans has signed partnerships with universities globally.
Graduates gain quick access to senior position both in France and
abroad in such fields as health and pharmaceuticals, food-processing
innovation, cosmetics, bioinformatics or the environment.
The studies, combining academic fundamentals, student projects and
internships are divided into two parts according to European standards:
the preparatory cycle (2 years) and the engineering cycle (3 years).
Sup’Biotech’s Biotechnology engineering program is accredited by
Medicen Paris Région and Industries and Agro-Resources (I.A.R.).
Sup’Biotech also offers an apprenticeship program starting at the
baccalaureate level, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology,
which is accessible after highschool Degree.


Privately Endowed Graduate Educational Institution - Education Authority of Créteil Registration - This school is a member of IONIS Education Group such as :