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Philipp Böing

Founder: Darwin Toolbox, SynBioSoc / UCL iGEM organizer, University College London

TEDCRED 200+

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What genetically engineered machines (modified bacteria) should we build?

Dear everyone,

I'm part of a student team participating in the "international genetically engineered machine competition" ( http://www.igem.org ). During this year we will build modified bacteria, with the aim of doing something useful. Everything we build and all results will be open-source.

Our aim this year is not just to do science in our laboratory, but instead with an acute awareness of society, including continuous feedback on the ethical, legal and social issues (and if we can manage, public participation in the scientific process itself).

At the moment we are at square one: Idea Generation. During the next week, our team will brainstorm ideas and develop project candidates. But we also want to tap into highly engaged communities such as TED conversations, to collect interesting ideas for a "genetically engineered machine".

So here's my question: "Which genetically engineered machine (modified bacteria) should we build?" (what are the biggest problems that could be tackled / What are the most ingenious uses of modified bacteria )

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  • Feb 25 2013: Bacteria that take a commonly found & bountiful product or substance, feed on it & produce a byproduct that can be used as fuel. Not a new idea, but perhaps something that could be improved upon. Made more efficient. Produced on mass & cheaply. Hydrogen production for example.

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