Team:Alberta/human practices/distribution analysis


(Difference between revisions)
Line 55: Line 55:
The following perceptual map demonstrates the positioning of Genomikon relative to these competitors based on learning value and price:
The following perceptual map demonstrates the positioning of Genomikon relative to these competitors based on learning value and price:

Revision as of 05:18, 26 October 2010


The Distribution Plan

The Genomikon Kit has wide applications to a variety of settings. Its most powerful application is clearly in education specifically targetted to high school students. With this in mind our team has researched and compilled a distrubtuion plan in an effort to provide a way in which Genomikon can reach students. It consists of a cost analysis of the components to produce the kit, the available market for the kit, potential competitors, the sustainability of the market, as well as a three year plan for bringing the kit to high schools all across Canada. We believe the Genomikon project has the potential to excite thousands of students allowing them to not only learn more about synthetic biology but have the opportunity to gain a first taste of the field.

Click Here To Download a PDF Version of the Distribution Plan

Executive Summary

Genomikon is a product that will introduce high school students to the world of synthetic biology in a hands-on experience. Packaged as a complete biology lab kit, Genomikon will allow anyone to construct a plasmid without special equipment or advanced knowledge. This educational kit will, literally, bring life into the classroom and revolutionize the way students learn about DNA. The University of Alberta is developing a method of plasmid assembly that is modular, rapid, and inexpensive. Genetic parts will be adapted into a system called Genomikon. This system will allow students to rationally create functional plasmids. Genomikon focuses on two procedures- DNA ligation and bacterial transformation. This means that students will be able to join functional pieces of DNA and insert those into harmless E. coli bacteria, where they can be expressed as colours and scents. Genomikon’s flexibility will accommodate these predesigned experiments but foster new creative expressions as well. A comprehensive lab manual, accompanied by an interactive online website, will clearly explain the procedures, effects, and cautions of the experiments. Our project not only seeks to optimize current procedures of synthetic biology but will also expose a new generation of students to this exciting and practical field. By designing a high school level kit and making synthetic biology accessible to this level of classroom, further research can be funded through the profits and, more importantly, we will attract new and inquisitive minds to the field. Genomikon is a learning tool providing opportunities consistent with Canada’s Education goals. In particular, Genomikon is a natural fit into the high school biology curriculum (Biology 30 in Alberta). Furthermore, the sheer number of schools in Canada (about 5000 that offer grade 12 studies), creates a significant market for Genomikon to be distributed into. The United States market presents an additional 20,000 schools to sell to. Genomikon will be first introduced to private high schools and Advanced Placement (AP) classrooms in Alberta, as a test market. After one year of use, the market will expand to include public school Biology 30 classrooms. Introducing Genomikon to these two school systems first will decrease the perceived risk associated with the product, easing its distribution into public schools. Overall, Genomikon represents a strong value offering for the high school biology curriculum. Allowing students to actually manipulate DNA and learn in a laboratory setting makes the course material more relevant and will attract young, inquisitive minds to the field of synthetic biology.

The Product

Genomikon is an innovative product in the world of synthetic biology and especially in a high school lab setting. Using this kit, along with an interactive companion website, students will be able to perform DNA ligation and transformation. Kits will be packaged in such a way that they are sufficient for one classroom, assuming an average class size of 25-30 students and lab groups of 4 to 5 students. The following is a list of contents included in Genomikon:

Alberta The Product.png

Included in the kit’s cost is access to an online interactive manual, found at, which allows students to customize their constructs. This website is part of Genomikon’s value offer—it uses current web technology to make the lab experience both memorable and relatable to this tech savvy generation. When the students receive the kit, they have pieces of linear DNA. Each piece of DNA encodes proteins that will transform the cells with various instructions, such as to turn a cell a particular colour. But, individually, these DNA pieces cannot do anything. What the student needs to do then, is construct those DNA pieces into a circular chain and insert them into live E. coli to see the DNA manifest its characteristics. E. coli have their own genome (DNA), and also tiny genomes called plasmids. Taking the E. coli Petri dish and incubating it will allow the E. coli to respond to the transformation and the student can witness the change. Depending on what the students inserted—red protein, green protein—different colours or phenotypes of E. coli will grow. As the E. coli grows the student will be able to see the E. coli change. It may appear as a series of specks, which are actually clones. The significance of this lab is that it will allow students to clone DNA into E. coli cells, demonstrating binary fission and genetic manipulation and engineering.

Competitive Analysis

Given a school’s often limited budget, competitors in this case are loosely defined as any biology lab a science department could choose to purchase instead of Genomikon.

The primary competitor in this case is pGLO, produced by Bio-Rad. pGLO is an educational kit that allows high school students to insert a plasmid into (transform) E. coli. This plasmid contains a gene encoding the Green Fluorescent Protein which glows bright green under UV light. If the transformations are successful the colonies of E. coli will fluoresce green. The difference between pGLO and Genomikon is that, in pGLO the plasmid that contains the novel phenotype (Green fluorescence) is pre-made. All the students have to do is transform (insert) it into their competent E. coli and let them grow overnight. With Genomikon, the students will be able to build their own plasmids in their high school lab and confer various novel phenotypes, of their choice, into their E. coli. After building their own plasmids with Genomikon, the two kits are very similar. So, the primary difference is that, with Genomikon, students construct their own plasmid, therefore, adding to the learning value of the kit. In addition to not teaching the structures of DNA that allow it to function biologically, the secondary weakness of pGLO is that every group has the same outcome—green E. coli. Furthermore, it does not have a complimentary website, providing Genomikon with an advantage. Students however, find pGLO a very unique and interesting lab as they get to change E. coli. The experiment is reliable, and pGLO offers a “wow factor” to the students using it as they see their E. coli glowing green. Also, pGLO requires one less class to complete than Genomikon. pGlo’s market price is currently US $139.00, which is not very expensive. However, in a small convenience sample of former AP and IB students, only 4% had seen and used pGlo in high school. Therefore, despite the low cost, it is not widely distributed or pushed in the market. Clearly, there is a market opportunity. Genomikon’s much more in depth look into the processes of ligation and transformation, along with the online lab supplement, give Genomikon more intangible characteristics that provide a superior and more rounded learning experience. The following chart demonstrates the advantages Genomikon has compared to pGlo that will be used to position Genomikon against this competitor:

Alberta pGLO Info.png

Less direct competitors include dissection kits. Given that Genomkion serves such a different learning objective than these dissections, they are competitors only in the sense that they are pre-established in the school curriculum and are an alternative source of budgetary spending. The advantages that Genomikon has on this area of competition is that it is less controversial, provides more learning resources with an online supplement, and has fewer waste concerns. The following perceptual map demonstrates the positioning of Genomikon relative to these competitors based on learning value and price: