8 thoughts on “S10 – Sprason

  1. What made you choose soybeans over all the other eukaryotic organisms for squalene production?

    1. Admittedly, this is due to the fact that the professor who is running our class has rather extensive experience in trying to genetically modify soybeans, hence all the promoter and terminator DNA (which work specifically in soybeans) was all ready to use. But aside from that, soybeans are commonly cultivated and easy to grow around the world, plus as they produce an easily harvest-able bean/seed, we can make the product only be expressed in the bean. This means we can easily make a system in which the plant will grow normally/healthy with normal levels of chemicals but then produce the chemical we want in a bean that we can then easily harvest.

    1. Hi Evan, Agrobacteria are used as they are one of the most successful groups of plant bacterium that have been found to be able to transfect their DNA into the plant they infect. Therefore we plan to hijack this mechanism to get the agrobacteria to insert our desired constructs into soybeans, therefore causing the soybeans to express our gene/RNAi and hopefully express excess squalene.

    1. Hi Alex, squalene is added to many skincare products as a humectant, in other words, a chemical that attracts/holds in water. This is to give them a moisturizing property. In vaccines, squalene is an adjuvant, supporting the proteins in the vaccine to cause an immune reaction which therefore provides the person with immunity.

  2. Great preso! Thanks for sharing. Do you know why squalene is present in such large quantities in shark livers specifically? (Or, maybe an easier question – what is squalene used for in skincare products and vaccines?)

    1. Hi Kaleigh, luckily I have an idea. Squalene is a form of lipid, used to make sterol hormones. In most animals, fat is processed in the liver, however, in non-bony fish like sharks, they don’t have a swim bladder to aid buoyancy, instead they have ‘large oily livers’ with a higher lipid content than most animals, which includes higher levels of squalene. Fun fact, squalene was also named after the group of sharks it was first isolated from.

Leave a Reply