Welcome to iGEM 2018!

This is University of Nebraska - Lincoln iGEM team


The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive species that first appeared in the United States in 2002. As of February 2018, the EAB has spread to 32 states, including Nebraska. The city of Lincoln has 14,000 ash trees that are in danger of EAB infestations within the next few years. Adult EAB lays eggs on the bark of ash trees, and when the larvae hatch, they bore into the trees. They feed on the transportation tissues of the trunk, girdling the tree. Any infested ash tree that is left untreated will die.

It is very important to monitor the EAB population and detect how it is spreading. The information gives governments and organizations more time to create treatment plans and strategies to limit EAB migration. EAB populations are currently monitored by traps baited with green leaf volatiles from ash trees. In the past, traps have also been baited with essential oils from the Manuka and Phoebe trees. These oils are known to contain molecules present in ash bark, but they are no longer used due to inconsistent supplies (McCullough, 2017). Studies have shown that traps baited with both the green leaf volatiles and essential oils are the most effective lures for EAB (Crook, 2010). The six attractive compounds in these oils are α-cubebene, α-copaene, 7-epi-sesquithujene, trans-β-caryophyllene, α-humulene (α-caryophyllene), and eremophilene. Of these, 7-epi-sesquithujene and eremophilene are considered the most important components (Crook, 2010). Neither of these compounds is commercially available, which limits the application and research of their use in traps. Although eremophilene can be synthesized from a commercially available precursor, it is impractical to chemically synthesize 7-epi-sesquithujene in a lab (Crook, 2010).

The goal of the project is to biosynthesize 7-epi-sesquithujene in an efficient and reliable manner. 7-epi-sesquithujene is a sesquiterpene, which is a type of compound known for being difficult to extract and isolate from plants. Research shows that 7-epi-sesquithujene can successfully be synthesized by Escherichia coli through the enzyme 7-epi-sesquithujene synthase (TPS4-B73). This biosynthesis requires the precursor farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) (Köllner, 2004), which can be produced in E. coli by engineering the mevalonate pathway found in S. cerevisiae and some enzymes from E. coli itself (Anthony, 2009). By implementing this pathway and the TPS4-B73 gene, E. coli can independently produce desirable levels of synthesis. From there, the 7-epi-sesquithujene can be purified to use in EAB traps.

Before you start

Please read the following pages:

Styling your wiki

You may style this page as you like or you can simply leave the style as it is. You can easily keep the styling and edit the content of these default wiki pages with your project information and completely fulfill the requirement to document your project.

While you may not win Best Wiki with this styling, your team is still eligible for all other awards. This default wiki meets the requirements, it improves navigability and ease of use for visitors, and you should not feel it is necessary to style beyond what has been provided.

Uploading pictures and files

You must upload any pictures and files to the iGEM 2018 server. Remember to keep all your pictures and files within your team's namespace or at least include your team's name in the file name.

When you upload, set the "Destination Filename" to T--YourOfficialTeamName--NameOfFile.jpg. (If you don't do this, someone else might upload a different file with the same "Destination Filename", and your file would be erased!)

Wiki template information

We have created these wiki template pages to help you get started and to help you think about how your team will be evaluated. You can find a list of all the pages tied to awards here at the Pages for awards link. You must edit these pages to be evaluated for medals and awards, but ultimately the design, layout, style and all other elements of your team wiki is up to you!

Editing your wiki

On this page you can document your project, introduce your team members, document your progress and share your iGEM experience with the rest of the world!

Use WikiTools - Edit in the black menu bar to edit this page


This wiki will be your team’s first interaction with the rest of the world, so here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • State your accomplishments! Tell people what you have achieved from the start.
  • Be clear about what you are doing and how you plan to do this.
  • You have a global audience! Consider the different backgrounds that your users come from.
  • Make sure information is easy to find; nothing should be more than 3 clicks away.
  • Avoid using very small fonts and low contrast colors; information should be easy to read.
  • Start documenting your project as early as possible; don’t leave anything to the last minute before the Wiki Freeze. For a complete list of deadlines visit the iGEM 2018 calendar
  • Have lots of fun!


You can also view other team wikis for inspiration! Here are some examples: