The use of GMO microalgae requires appropriate ways to ensure that these organisms cannot escape into the wild. The creation of strains with special requirements, found only in process facilities, enables containment and facilitates regulatory approval of microalgal GMO production.

Objective/mission (The vision): We aim to create and test strategies for inherent containment, including the creation of strains which “commit suicide” when removed from the biotechnology facility.

Research approach (The initiative): We will use CRISPR to knock out a set of key nutrient uptake transporters. The supply of nutrients in high concentration compensates for the loss for these transporters, but when diluted into the wild, such cells will not survive.

Impacts and applications: Our efforts will contribute to a global set of strategies for biocontainment.

Project members

Key contacts

Professor Ben Hankamer

Professorial Research Fellow
Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Dr Ian Ross

Senior Biologist
Institute for Molecular Bioscience