miniPCR bio™ collaborates with BioBuilder® to launch synthetic biology PCR lab

miniPCR bio is proud to announce together with BioBuilder® and Carolina Biological Supply the release of a new lab for aspiring synthetic biologists and their teachers. The BioBuilder® Golden Bread PCR kit offers a chance to study the molecular underpinnings of a unique phenotype displayed by Golden Yeast. Synthetic biologists have engineered Golden Yeast to express ß-carotene, a vitamin A precursor that confers colonies a golden color.

Researchers had hoped to fight vitamin A deficiency by distributing bread made with Golden Yeast to populations at risk of malnutrition. Alas, the enzymes that synthesize ß-carotene are not expressed in a stable manner in the genetically engineered Golden Yeast. So rather than appearing uniformly golden, the yeast grow in a spectrum of colors – from red and orange to pale yellow and the white hue characteristic of wild-type yeast. This variability in color reflects incomplete synthesis of ß-carotene.

Golden Yeast may not have taken off as a model to stave off malnourishment, yet they offer a unique model to study synthetic biology and learn about genetic engineering. In an existing lab from BioBuilder®, teachers and students can attempt to stabilize ß-carotene expression by introducing additional copies of the genes in the ß-carotene synthesis pathway. Now, the Golden Bread PCR kit allows them to use molecular tools to probe the basis of this instability.

The Golden Bread PCR lab was launched with a celebratory workshop on October 15 at the National Association of Biology Teachers’ annual conference in Chicago. In a session headed by Andover High School science teacher and BioBuilder® Master Teacher Lindsey L’Ecuyer, participants got a chance to peer inside the golden yeast genome, using the miniPCR™ machine and blueGel™ electrophoresis system to confirm whether yeast colonies of different phenotypes carry the genes necessary for ß-carotene synthesis.

The Golden Bread PCR kit is available for purchase exclusively through Carolina Biological Supply. Get yours today to bring synthetic biology to your classroom!