From 2012hs.igem.org

Unveiling the Invisible Danger – A Synthetic, Multicolor measurement Toolkit for the precise Quantification of UV and Radioactive Radiation

UV radiation and radioactivity are two main natural radiation types we get in contact with each and every day. In low doses, UV and radioactive radiation are mostly harmless to cells and can even be beneficial for the survival of an organism, i.e. UV-B, which is mandatory for Vitamin D3 production in the human body. Still, exceeding the healthy range, radiation can cause severe cellular damage, which- in the worst case- leads to diseases like radiation-sickness and finally cancer in humans. Although many people in our modern society generally know about the potential danger of sunlight (UV radiation), the true public awareness of the “invisible danger” of harmful radiation is insufficient. This is reflected by an increasing number of melanoma patients in western countries every year, promoted- besides other factors- by an overall increase of extensive sun bathing or usage of tanning beds. The iGEM Team Life-Science Lab Heidelberg will develop a multicolor measurement toolkit consisting of standardized measurement parts for the precise quantification of both UV and radioactive radiation, applicable in a wide variety of everyday life settings- from checking the exposure of your body to UV-light during a sun bath to detecting dangerous sources of radioactivity in high-risk-areas, such as atomic power plants. Our multicolor measurement toolkit will offer a cheap, robust and easy-to-use approach for the detection of radiation and its application will not require any special equipment. Thus, it has a great potential to become a synthetic biology product widely used in our daily lives. With our project, we will offer the synthetic biology community a valuable collection of new, widely-applicable and well-characterized measurement parts and thereby contribute to the future development of the whole synthetic biology field.

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