iGEM CMUQ 2019

iGEM 2019 CMUQ

Welcome to CMU-Q iGEM team wiki

Introducing ... CASPRE
CRISPR-Cas12a protein Preliminary Recessive Traits Genetic testing

With CASPRE, we aimed to improve a multitude of factors related to genetic testing. After some team members talked about their experience in a refugee camp in Greece, we knew that we wanted to make genetic testing accessible to more people. After a multitude of meetings, we were able to break down the roadblocks associated with common genetic testing methods. We realized that in order to make genetic testing more accessible, we needed to reduce associated costs so that it could be administered in bulk, decrease the need for specialized and non-mobile equipment, as well as increase the overall safety of the process by eliminating the need for blood and hypodermic needles. As we worked on the project, we even came up with new and innovative ideas such as using machine learning and neural networks to increase the accuracy of our process. With our synthetic biology kit that provides preliminary genetic testing, we move towards a more genetically aware community; one sample at a time.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Thank you,



In an effort to reduce the inequality in global healthcare, increase the efficiency of labs, and minimize biohazards, our team developed CASPRE; a synthetic biology kit that provides preliminary genetic testing for carriers of recessive traits. CASPRE’s biological mechanism utilizes CRISPR-Cas12a protein, specifically- designed guide RNA (gRNA), and fluorescing reporters to identify the presence of a disorder-causing SNP. Upon the extraction of the DNA from a saliva sample, Cas12a scans the DNA searching for a complementary sequence to the gRNA. If complementary binding occurs, a reaction complex forms and triggers an indiscriminate cleavage activity. Through this, a single-stranded DNA linking the reporter and its quencher degrades and allows the emission of fluorescence. Then, CASPRE’s developed, hand-held device and user-friendly application work in tandem to detect and interpret the emitted fluorescence producing a +/- diagnoses. Within a few minutes, we become a step closer to a more aware community.

How does CASPRE work?

Saliva Sample

Extract DNA with simple reagents

Perform pre-text councelling using our app

Add DNA to Cas12a CRISPR solution for detection

Fluorescence emitted upon cleavage activity

Place CRSIPR reagent within a cuvette & into this device for fluorescence measurement & analysis

Result displayed on screen by averaging measurements


Inspired by the progress of our project inside the lab, our business team began focusing on the commercialization of CASPRE. Upon evaluating the potential impact of CASPRE based on cost, accessibility and usability, we identified our penetrable market and began constructing our business plan. To know more, visit our page.

Education And Engagement

Check out our outreach page to know more about how we engaged with our community, introduced iGEM to students from different fields and different levels as well as how we were able to raise awareneess about genetic testing.