ScienceArt - Image: Synthetic Biology parasite detection

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Image:Synthetic Biology parasite detection

Description: Illustration showing an example of the use of synthetic biology, to create bacteria engineered to detect the presence of parasites. This bacterium contains both its own DNA (green helix) and an artificial part (blue) that codes for the production of surface proteins (circles) and other internal structures. These proteins are tailored to detect the presence of Schistosoma parasites (pink), the cause of the tropical disease schistosomiasis. When the parasites are detected, the internal structures change the colour of the bacteria to red. Engineering bacteria normally present in the water in high-risk regions could provide a warning to people that the water is contaminated by the parasites, as it would turn red in their presence.