Rapid, Flexible, and Affordable Yeast Genome Engineering with BioBrickTM Standardization
Being an independent team of undergraduate students, we quickly learned that inexperience in synthetic biology and financial constraints limit the success of young teams. Thus, our project endeavoured to tackle these two obstacles. Thanks to our Virtual Protocol Donation Box, we analyzed, tested, and optimized a plethora of protocols from other successful iGEM teams. We compiled an easy-to-read protocol handbook designed specifically to assist new learners of synthetic biology. The handbook is equipped with software models designed by our dry lab to assist with primer design and yeast cloning. We allied with the University of Ottawa’s DEGREE program and invited students from various educational backgrounds and levels to test our protocols. We analyzed their performance and their feedback to ameliorate our protocols. Based on their comments, we filmed succinct videos to accompany each procedure. Our protocols are specifically designed to train amateurs of synthetic biology using cost-effective techniques. Our collaborators, who worked with higher order eukaryotes, recommended that we make the competition accessible to young synthetic biologists who are interested in working with eukaryotes. Consequently, we developed a library of BioBrick plasmid backbones that are simultaneously compatible for cloning in both E. coli and S. cerevisiae using the basic techniques explained in our protocols. To further overcome the financial hurdles of the competition while keeping up-to-date with modern cloning techniques — and to address common documented issues with traditional cloning that were noted by our collaborators and during the making of our yeast-compatible plasmid backbone library — we developed a DIY Gibson Assembly kit to minimize the cost of cloning and provided an easy-to-read manual to make the kit. We provide the necessary enzyme sequences, cost-free, to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.