During the project, we collaborated with 7 other iGEM teams: BeerJet(Official Team Name:Beijing_United), Alpha Luco(Official Team Name: Fujian_United), Pro-CASei(Official Team Name:Shanghai_HS_ID), PEToracity(Official Team Name:WFLA_YK_PAO), Dr.Phage(Shanghai_United_HS),VIPatent (Shanghai_Metro),Ceres(Shanghai_Metro_HS).In our online conference, we had a chance to spread our ideas to other groups and learn about their project. We also discussed problems that our team has met, such as low team efficiency and wiki construction. Similarly, they had the same issues before and shared their solutions with us, which is helpful.
Collaboration with BeerJet (Beijing_United)
We found that brewing costs can be cut if the wine brewing time can be shortened during the previous research. However, our wet lab didn’t have enough time to add another enzyme’s gene into the yeast. Therefore, team BeerJet focused on reducing alcohol consumption time, and we take their results as a reference. Furthermore, their original intention is to increase the productivity of alcoholic disinfectants during COVID-19, which also inspires us: since our product could lower fruit wine’s price, we can indirectly help sell unsalable fruits by increasing the yield of fruit wine.
Collaboration with Alpha Luco (Fujian_United)
Later, we collaborated with another team that had finished their project. They had high efficiency, so our discussion is mainly on managing a team and assigning tasks. They had a meeting at the beginning of every day to allocate their work. Also, they would write everyone’s attribution when they finished their daily work to motivate the team. They also informed us to write a business plan ahead. Otherwise, it has to be finished online.
Collaboration with Pro-CASei (Shanghai_HS_ID)
Before the talk with Pro-CASei, we were concerned about our topic for a long time. Even though that is both economical and time-saving, we are still not satisfied with our terminal products. After determining the topic, we found that the target audience could not be distributed to the majority of the people, especially in people who are not keen on alcohol and in companies who take traditional yeast as a conventional way. But from the communication, we figured out that every product is not suitable for everyone. Every product gets its customers but never meets everyone’s needs.
Also, as high school students, our power is not strong enough to develop a perfect outcome in all respects. In hearing about their product targeting, we found out that their technology is more towards high precision research. After brainstorming with them, we were relieved to find that each team has its positioning. We will be satisfied in marking attribution in a single field to a specific audience. What we can do is to push the boundaries of high school students, pay attention to social issues, care about the community, and take up the responsibility of constructing and improving our society. This conference helped us to confirm our aims about locating the audience, which confused us continuously.
Collaboration with PEToracity (WFLA_YK_PAO)
After talking to the PEToracity team, we realized that our project inspiration was not fully explained in our project plan. They asked us: Did you design this project with a purpose or a product in mind first? After our 10-day-long discussion, it seemed that our product documentation had long been engrossed by the business value. After being interrogated by them again, our team immediately embarked on a new round of meetings to debate the most original intention of our program. This helped us refine our wiki contents.
Again, they felt unsure of their product. Our team members also analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of their current materials as onlookers, such as how to solve the food safety problem and what kind of people or companies their product was aimed at. And, we helped them confirm whether their final product was going to be a lactic acid bacteria drink or a probiotic drink. Because the sugar content of lactobacillus drinks is extremely high at the moment, while probiotic drinks are more nutritious and suitable for promotion.
Collaboration with Dr. PHAGE (Shanghai_United_HS)
It is a valuable conference for our team. After talking with Dr. PHAGE, we found that their team was very united, such as eating out or playing games together. This is something our team neglected which made our relationship more like leader-member relations than cooperation. So we decided to organize some team activities. That strengthens our relationships. Also, we need to reconsider how to cooperate with others better. The dry lab usually has meetings or gatherings with the wet lab. However, we haven’t organized a recent meeting with the wet lab. Since then, we have planned to meet with the wet lab to discuss the iGEM projects and build an intimate friendship. The team has grown closer, and productivity has increased enormously as people work with each other
Collaboration with VIPatent(Shanghai_Metro)
After discussing with VIPatent, we discovered their team can primarily increase the value of our project. Once our multifunctional yeast spreads out, our customers may likely duplicate it by themselves without our permission. Because without specific requirements of living environments, our yeast can increase in the most straightforward conditions.
Their project serves to protect the patent by chemically transferring a designed plasmid into E. coli DH5α. Their designed plasmid is Pus232-ike2-tke2 (or Pus232-ike4-tke4, same function but different species). pus232 is a plasmid extracted from E. coli, while ike and tke are genes extracted from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, respectively. The tke gene secretes toxins.
The ike gene produces protein factors that immunize off the toxin brought by tke. The promoter of ike is inducible, meaning that only specific ligand conditions can induce ike gene expression. On the other hand, the tke promoter is a constitutive line promoter, meaning that the toxic protein of tke is expressed at all times.
After clarifying the principle of their project, we only need to extract the gene of the designed plasmid (either ike2-tke2 or ike4-tke4, only one of them), amplify this gene by pcr, and recreate the homologous recombination template by CRISPR-Cas technology to integrate the gene of this segment to the yeast genome.
We do not need to redesign the tke effector and ike immune factor, both universal. After gene editing, patent protection can be achieved by simply putting the yeast into the specified substance.
This issue greatly solves our current headache of patenting.
Collaboration with Ceres (Shanghai_Metro_HS)
We also collaborated with the ceres team, and we shared our experiences with them, showing them what we do in our weekly meetings and how to effectively divide the work and our business plan. Likewise, we passed on our experiences from our training sessions to them.