NRP UEA Norwich iGEM 2014

The Green Canary Project

Food security is becoming an ever prominent global issue, by 2050 food production needs to increase by 70% to feed the 9 billion people that will inhabit our planet. However, dedicating new land to farming may not be viable and as a global society we will have to utilise the land available. In 2012 OECD reported that 40% of global crop yields are lost to pests and diseases, applying synthetic biology we aim to potentially reduce the vast void of crops which are inedible due to pathogen infection. Whilst our combined human practices and ethics research is exploring the ethical responsibilities of scientists to provide food security for an increasing population and to allow members of the public to choose the ways in which their food is produced.

Our aim is to produce diagnostic sentinel plants that will rapidly diagnose the presence of specific selected plant pathogens. The sentinels will exhibit a clear chromoprotein expression signal within 24 hours of pathogen infection. The signal can be observed by the human eye or interpreted by a remote sensing system capable of alerting the grower who can take necessary action, potentially by appropriate agrochemical application before the disease progresses to symptomatic pathogenesis in the crop.

A big thank you to our sponsors