A team of young scientists from Pakistan won a silver medal in the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition, The Express Tribune reported on Tuesday.

The Pakistani team, comprising 10 boys and two girls, built a DNA circuit to develop a "Reporter Fish" that would be able to detect contaminated water by changing its colour and warn fishermen. The team also developed a digital sensor through which people in the fishing industry would receive a warning through a text message if arsenic was detected in water.

“The project will have a direct impact on fish farmers and will also help to keep the fish with good health for consumption by human beings,” head of CECOS’s Biosciences lab Dr Faisal Khan told The Express Tribune. Khan was also the team's supervisor.

iGEM Peshawar also posted the news on its Facebook page.

The student team, mainly from disciplines of engineering and computer sciences, was hosted by Institute of Integrative Biosciences of CECOS University of IT and Emerging Sciences Peshawar. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Science and Technology also assisted the project. The students hailed from different cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Attock, Swabi, Mardan, Peshawar, Khyber Agency, Charsadda, Nowshera, Faisalabad and Multan.

An official press release said that the iGEM Peshawar 2017 team was also nominated for the Best Biosafety Award at the event, which was held in Boston.

Last year, a Pakistani team of 12 students had won a bronze medal in the iGEM competition.

iGEM arranges an annual competition in synthetic biology for students to encourage them to come up with ecp-friendly solutions to "real world problems".

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