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Crop Biotech Update

Students Develop "Lock" To Prevent GMs Turning Into Invasive Species

September 30, 2021

A group of students from the Leiden University in The Netherlands developed a "lock" to decrease the chances of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) turning into invasive species when released into the environment. The technology is their entry to this year's iGEM biology competition.

The Double Plasmid Lock (DOPL LOCK) was created with the idea of distributing the foreign genetic material of the GMO between two separate DNA plasmids. Each plasmid has its own toxin, with each having the antitoxin of the other. The students explained that this will ensure that the cell only remains alive if the plasmids are together and that the individual plasmid cannot be transferred into another bacteria. To summarize, one plasmid cannot survive without the other and will serve as a "lock" that will make it impossible for GMOs to outcompete other organisms in the open environment. The objective is for researchers to make safe use of genetic modification without products turning into invasive species.

Learn more about the DOPL LOCK from Leiden University.

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