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SynBio for Pan-African Scientists

“I am going to use it again and again. The way you deliver the course is brilliant!”

– Biniam Ghebreslassie, Jomo Kenyatta University

The Synbio workshop is a collaboration event that was created through the ENSA’s Crop Engineering Consortium, funded by the Gates Foundation and made possible through the BecA-JIC Alliance. The 2015 training workshop was hosted at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya.

The project focuses on provides training in Golden Gate cloning; a recently developed method to assemble multiple DNA fragments simultaneously and directionally in a single tube reaction. This method has reduced months or years of work down into a matter of days and can generate multiple constructs that are ready for transformation and testing in plants.

Over the course of three days, the workshop seeks to offer training in design, assembly and verification of constructs using the Golden Gate method. To do so, the workshop includes full in silico training as well as practical lab work along with further practical activities to support the theory methods being taught.

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Applicants from across Eastern and Central Africa were selected to find participants who would immediately be able to apply the techniques that were being taught in their own projects. The November 2015 Synbio workshop sought to take the experience from the previous workshops and further build upon it through the feedback received. In this workshop, more time was included on construct breakdown forms and more thorough training on in silico practical work on CLC software was provided. To participants who voiced concerns of licencing costs of CLC, training in alternative freeware, APE, was provided.

In addition to the course outline, a large portion of time was put aside for group discussion as well as assistance with individual participants construct designs. Together, these two approaches allowed the group to work through the theory together while also providing powerful individual support to each participant with construct designs specific to their area of study.

Through the workshop, the participants were provided with;

  • A training manual that follows the entire course complete with protocols
  • Access to a core set of constructs from the BecA-IRLI Hub
  • Use and support for synthesis and sequencing platforms through ENSA
  • Personalised technical advice for individual designs
  • Access and individual user profiles on the BecA Synbio management tool website (beca-synbio.org)
  • Protocols for advanced uses of Golden Gate cloning created by experts currently using those techniques

Feedback from the Participants

“The general comment for the last three day’s workshop has been wonderful and exciting.”

– Kahya Shuaibu, National Root Crops Research Institute

“The practicals put in perspective the theory of designing the constructs. Resource personnel were very effective and helpful”

– Catherine Taracha, KALRO

“The presentations and facilitation of this workshop was so good today and everything was made on time.”

– Gladness Temu, ARI-Mikocheni Dar

“I liked the enthusiasm of the presenters as they presented their work”

– Sandra Kamenye, Ugandan Christian University

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