To help nature to help us
Despite the tremendous wealth of natural ecosystems, biodiversity shall be expanded for its adaptation to human needs.
Domestication of nature, which started thousands of years ago, involves sophisticated techniques today. The complexity of even simple living organisms like bacteria or yeasts is such that it remains however impossible to predict phenotypes from genotypes, hindering the development of rational design. In addition, regulatory issues prevent some markets from genetic and metabolic engineering tools.
In this context, solutions applicable on natural and genetically modified organisms are required to bridge the gap between available biodiversity and desired biocatalytic activities.
We develop cutting-edge evolutionary setups, involving innovative selective schemes conducted in proprietary automated technology.
We drive natural selection at the scale of the organism, to help Nature to help us.
Mimic natural selection
Natural selection is a key mechanism in evolution. Over time, random genetic mutations occur within an organism's genetic code, of which beneficial mutations are preserved because they are beneficial to survival and/or offspring. Natural selection is a gradual, iterative process, based on a 3 steps cycle: 1) diversification, 2) selection, 3) amplification.
Directed Evolution mimics natural selection toward a user-defined goal. The three steps of evolution are emulated in a laboratory setting. This term usually refer to techniques ex vivo, ie which operate at the molecular level (nucleic acids) and focus on specific molecular activities (enzymes, proteins).
We propose to both generate diversity and screen activity at the organism's level. Such directed evolution in vivo approach is a powerful tool to optimize natural organisms (non-GMOs) and to complement existing genetic and metabolic techniques to engineer GMOs.
The power of adaptative evolution
Adaptative evolution is a potent tool for biological discovery and engineering. By exploiting the inherent competition at play between organisms and the natural accumulation of mutations within microbial population, desired phenotypic traits can be selected for without requiring a priori knowledge on how the traits might arise.
Our multi-disciplinary team gathers skills in evolution, automation, millfluidic, genetic and metabolic engineering.