Barcoding bacteria for a better world

by Charles Winterhalter

16:00 (40 min) in Daysh G.07

Scientific efforts in the field of synthetic biology routinely lead to the emergence of new bacterial strains programmed with specific behaviour. However, this continuous outgrowth can become difficult to track and makes the sharing of reliable information difficult. To a larger extent, this affects communication between research laboratories and results reproducibility due to poor strains documentation. To bridge the gap between version control softwares and living organisms, we propose Bac2code: a new tool that identifies gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria species based on a minimal DNA sequence. Bac2code uses Universal Unique Identifiers (UUIDs) to encode a DNA barcode behind a 32-characters hexadecimal key. Redundant mapping of nucleotide triplets to each hexadecimal character allows to assign specific DNA sequence to a single barcode, and to make sure sequence repetitions or inherent DNA properties are avoided. This key is a unique link to an online repository that traces parent-type and strain-specific information, could it be from in-silico resources (sequences, models, simulations) or in-vivo/in-vitro data (protocols, experimental results). For the ease of use, any unknown or ambiguous barcoded strain can be recognised via a single sequencing reaction using a pair of universal primers. The uncovered DNA barcode then provides access to thorough strain documentation. Altogether, Bac2code is a project aiming to standardise and to help the transfer of biological information through DNA barcodes.