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Evolutionary microfluidics

Evolutionary microfluidics

Objective

Ever since the insightful suggestion of John von Neumann, self-reproducing automata are considered to be a main long-term goal of IT. Biologists are dealing with such systems that arose in the course of evolution by natural selection. The future realization of technological artefacts that will mimic, or be inspired by biological automata, will face many problems that biological evolution had to solve. e-Flux will develop droplet-based digital microfluidic systems for the manipulation of reproducing artificial compartments and natural cells (including the analysis of adaptive pathways and molecular cooperation). The project combines cutting-edge technological development with high-level theoretical analysis of the experimentally realized systems. By the application of a large population of electronically controlled microdroplets we shall select for RNA replicator-based molecular networks that can learn from experience. The same method will be used to reconstruct a hypothetical interim stage of early biological evolution where protocells harboured a bag of competing catalytically active RNA genes. These achievements need technological development of our microfluidic machinery. As an example of unconventional biotechnology, we will put bacteria into the droplets, and select for various traits in a novel kind of 'evolution machine'. Theoretical analyses will complement the experimental work, especially in order to develop a better understanding of evolvability (the genetically controlled capacity to respond to directional selection) in artificial and natural molecular systems.

Coordinator

PARMENIDES STIFTUNG

Address

Kirchplatz 1
82049 Munchen

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 400 000

Administrative Contact

Thomas Lehr (Dr.)

Participants (9)

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UNIVERSITAT AUTONOMA DE BARCELONA

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

UNIVERSITE PIERRE ET MARIE CURIE - PARIS 6

France

EU Contribution

€ 464 000

UNIVERSITE DE STRASBOURG

France

EU Contribution

€ 484 232

UNIVERSITE LOUIS PASTEUR

France

PANEPISTIMIO THESSALIAS

Greece

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 300 000

THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 300 000

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

France

EU Contribution

€ 15 768

ECOLE SUPERIEURE DE PHYSIQUE ET DECHIMIE INDUSTRIELLES DE LA VILLE DEPARIS

France

EU Contribution

€ 36 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 225167

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 February 2009

  • End date

    31 May 2012

Funded under:

FP7-ICT

  • Overall budget:

    € 3 098 287

  • EU contribution

    € 2 300 000

Coordinated by:

PARMENIDES STIFTUNG

Germany