Transcription, reverse transcription, ligation, PCR and back to the start… This year the TU Delft iGEM team is using a de novo in vitro evolution method to develop RNA biosensors, aptamers, to detect vitamins. We started with a big library of RNA molecules, round after round, our three human robots are working on enriching those shy aptamers that are able to bind to the vitamins.
The aptamers obtained through this evolution experiment will be applied on a paper-based microfluidic cell free system. Using these aptamers, we aim to couple vitamin concentration to gene expression of a reporter gene in order to obtain a colorimetric read out. We are really excited about the first results in the lab. We hope our contribution helps in this battle against micronutrient deficiency.