Team:HAFS Bioholics


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  • project description
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Team HAFS_Bioholics

Official Team Profile



We are from Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies(HAFS), located in Yongin city, South Korea. Known to be one of the most prestigious schools in South Korea students from various regions with diverse interests apply every year to be applied to our school. Byunguk Kang, one of the first members of our team, had known about iGEM and Registry organization and found out that there was also a high school division of iGEM this year. He notified this information to his classmates and gathered some passionate students to join in with him. So far we have Da Hyeong Jang and Un Hyung Lee on the team and are willing to gather more teammates if needed.

Although our school does not have the necessary laboratory resources to support our team, we were able to get support from other labs through our school's individual research support projects. With support for the laboratory and experiment, we finally decided to join the competition. At first the general idea was hard to understand considering that we are only high school students with only basic knowledge about biology, but after researching through Registry of Standardized Parts and youtube lectures we were finally able to understand the idea of synthetic biology and how it works. Although the success of our team’s project is not yet assured, we hope we can contribute something valuable to the society through this competition!


2.1 Background

Without doubt, our current society is suffering from a lack of natural resources and environmental degradation. It is imperative that we seek for a method, or work towards a model that would sufficiently address these problems to establish a green earth-which would in turn secure more developed models and methods to effectively tackle environmental problems of the future.

In nature, there is an amazing diversity of organisms that emit light through enchanting processes in which living organisms convert energy into light. Yet a working method to utilize such wonders for the benefit of earth has never been found. It is the goal of our team to discover this method so that we can move one step further towards a green earth.

2.2 What we are going to do

So what we wanted to make was light that could self-sufficiently glow in the dark. This would satisfy our goal to create an effective alternative device to depleting energy sources. The general idea is to use luciferase, the enzyme that is used when insects, especially fireflies, illuminate. In order to have luciferase working, we need to have ATP.

luciferin + ATP → luciferyl adenylate + PPi luciferyl adenylate + O2 → oxyluciferin + AMP + light

We therefore need a source that can make ATPs and transport them to luciferase- and it needs to be self sufficient because that is our whole purpose- to make light without exterior input of artificial energy.

Well, what are the obvious autotrophs that can make their energy? Plants! Plants, unlike humans and other animals, can photosynthesize and carry on their life-activities by themselves. So we decided to use plants' mechanism of photosynthesis to supply ATP to luciferase.

2.3 Photosynthesis

In photosynthesis, there are two steps: Light reaction, and Dark reaction(otherwise known as Dark reaction) The basic idea of these two steps is that the light reaction will make ATP and other energy rich molecules and then the dark reaction will use those sources to synthesize glucose for storage of energy.So what we need- the ATP is made in the light reaction.

Light reaction equation: 2 H2O + 2 NADP+ + 3 ADP + 3 Pi + light → 2 NADPH + 2 H+ + 3 ATP + O2

2.4 The synthetic biology

So now we have the overall idea- how is our team going to make it really happen using synthetic energy? We are going to put luciferase DNA part (possibly BBa_I712019) behind the promotor of photosynthesis mechanism.

Since photosynthesis cannot happen without light, to make the light glow in the dark,we must make the light reaction to make enough ATPs.


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