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Introduction

At the Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology Lab we work on different aspects of applied microbiology. We focus on the study of genetically engineered organisms: we are interested on the search of new genes suitable for GMOs construction (15), but we are also studying the risks derived from that use. In our lab, we have experience on the entomopathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, (1,10,12,15,16), the genes of which are commonly used in the development of transgenic plants (corn, tobacco, potato) so that they are protected from insects attack. We have characterized those genes (14), described new applications such as aphid control (12), and studied the possible deleterious effects of transgenic crops on nontarget entomofauna (10,13).

Besides this research line, we actively work on one of the newest scientific disciplines, Synthetic Biology (3,6,7,8). This can be defined as an approach to biotechnology with engineering principles. On that framework, we are searching for bacteria, genes and enzymes with potential industrial developments for, for example, biofuels production. (4,9). Moreover, we are building biological devices designed to make heat (11), light (5) or even electric power. With all this we aim at contributing to create a critical mass of biological devices that might be used in a close future as electro-biological devices such as computer displays with luminescent cells as living pixels (5), or bacterial portable devices to produce electricity from the microbial metabolic activity…

 
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