E.chromi Bacteria to Diagnose Disease By Coloring Your Feces

Jan 30, 2012
Synthetic biology has a great potential to change the way we live, including our environment and health. E.chromi is a new ambitious project that is a result of collaboration of synthetic biology scientists and designers that promises to make such difference. Cambridge University undergraduates decided to create genetically engineered bacteria that will produce colored pigments.

This has a huge variety of applications. For example, it will be able to detect dangerous pollutants in water by producing color visible to the eyes. Scientists created standardized sequences of DNA, called BioBricks and inserted them into E.coli bacteria. The genes were seleceted from existing organisms that in combination with other BioBricks would serve as a diagnostic tool.

The idea is to design a probiotic drink with E.chromi that will diagnose various ailments. The modified E.coli will produce certain color when it will come in contact with enzymes, proteins and chemicals in gastrointestinal tract. The patients will ingest the drink and it will change the color of his stool, indicating what kind of disease they have.