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In this section we would like to express our achievements and justify with more detail our judgment form.

  • We succeeded in transforming yeast with the prionic circuit. The resulting transformants, as expected, grew on selective (SD+Ade+His+Ura) medium. The behaviour of the circuit, as deduced by the presence of white and blue colonies, was obtained. This indicates that both phenotypes (theoretically resulting in an albedo change that would regulate the whole Mars temperature) can be obtained through this system. However, the white:blue rate we obtained was much higher than that previously described (Li and Lindquist, 2000), suggesting that further optimisation of the prionic circuit is needed.
  • We successfully transformed E. coli with the PM2 gene (which encodes for a LEA protein) and triggered its expression with IPTG. After comparing survival of LEA transformed E. coli and control E. coli by means of non-parametrical statistical analysis (Kruskal-Wallis) we demonstrated a surprisingly high protective effect of this protein against harsh temperatures(p_value < 0.0001 for the four different treatments). Two observations could be made: LEA protein generally has a more protective effect than glycerol. Also, when both factors are present, they have an unexpected synergic effect. We can extrapolate these results to yeast.
  • We got to send to the registry the first biobrick composed by the coding sequence of a protein with a potential prion behaviour. The capability of using a constitutive transcription activator whose function is dependent of this particular mechanism can be very useful in many different conditions. The system allows the simultaneous presence of two phenotypes, conferring an intrinsic diversity in the population that can lead to an evolutionary advantage or to a very interesting dynamics.
  • We also sent another interesting biobrick (the PM2 gene), that can confer a well-documented ability to resist and improve the grow rate under different stressful conditions in bacteria and probably other organisms. The relevance of such a gene is outstanding for experiments conducted in harsh environmental conditions.