Engineering Biology
Environmental Biotechnology Challenge:

Address and mitigate climate change.

Enable adaptation of ecosystems to climate change.

Engineering Biology Objectives & Technical Achievements

Enable and advance the production of drought-tolerant vegetation for growth on marginal land.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Genetic tools to edit non-model plants, including trees.

Plants engineered with waxy leaves to prevent evaporation.

Physiological root mechanisms for concentrating water and functioning in high-ionic-strength soils.

Engineer C4 pathways into C3 plants for increased drought- and heat-resistance.

Transcription factor engineering to turn on/off water stress-related pathways.

Introduction of heterologous genes from other plants that enable moisture sensing (e.g., transporters, etc.).

Enable and advance the production of self-fertilizing plants and/or cover crops.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Complex genotype construction in both model (e.g., maize) and non-model (e.g., clover, vetch) plants.

Optimize nitrogen fixation pathway enzymes to fit new host organisms.

Transfer the nitrogen fixation pathway into plant.

Increase the nitrogen fixing activity of rhizobia-containing plants.

Accurate prediction of nitrogen fixation pathways to insert into plant.

Multi-organism/multi-scale modeling of element cycling.

Engineering biomes for robust soils.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Genome engineering capabilities for implementing large numbers of targeted modifications in specific hosts that may have limited tools for transformation, modification, and programmable gene expression.

Genetic tools to engineer a variety of soil microbes.

Soil microbes engineered to produce extracellular polymers that stabilize the soil.

Biosensing systems to sense phosphate/nitrogen levels.

Engineered extracellular/intracellular mechanisms to concentrate critical elements and promote their long-term storage and/or release in soil, rather than dissolution and field run-off.

Engineer stable production of antibiotic and antifungal compounds to provide disease suppression for newly established crop plants.

A variety of soil microbes that can be readily engineered (including transformation).

Produce stable, engineered microbial cultures in an agriculture setting.

Engineer microbial communities to sense water, carbon, and other nutrient contents of soils and secrete/consume appropriate nutrients to maintain the soil.

Analysis of stability of engineered microbes in the soil.

Better understanding (analysis, modeling, and prediction) of microbial consortia in natural systems and how they interact and evolve over time and under different conditions.

Last updated: June 19, 2019 Back