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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 switch. 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.
  • 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.
  • Temperature differences between the different colors cultures proven. We designed, constructed and tested a new device based on a system of thermocouples and light sensors, which allow us to study the temperature difference (closely related with albedo) between different color cultures. In addition, we used this device connected to an acquisition system controlled by our own software in order to store and plot the assays data. Finally we carried out several experiments which demonstrate that differences in the color of sunlight-exposed cultures produce differences in their temperature.
  • Self-maintained planetary incubator Red House device. We also designed, built and verified a new structure capable of protecting the culture placed inside of it from the external environmental conditions. We constructed a windmill to generate electric power from eolic energy. Energy generated this way is used to warm up the inside of our thermal isolation device in order to create an optimum growth temperature for the cultures. In addition, we added a several temperature sensors that allowed us to monitoring the temperature evolution. These temperature sensors and others, which allow us to measure the power generated, were connected to an acquisition system controlled by our own software in order to store and plot data, and control the incoming power.
  • We developed a dynamic model for simulating a terraforming proccess including our synthetic biology strategies. We integrated the behavior of the prionic switch as kernel of the terraforming process into the planetary model. We designed and programmed an informatic tool that allow us to visualize the entire proccess.
  • Regarding the Human Practice we have performed a comprehensive review on the ethical issues that the terraforming of Mars by means of synthetic biology raises and carried out comparative interviews with 10 scientists and religious leaders.
  • Six members of our team have answered the survey about iGEM and Synthetic Biology carried out by the team of Warsaw, as you can check in their wiki.