The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. This project design and competition format is an exceptionally motivating and effective teaching method.
iGEM began in January of 2003 with a month-long course during MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP). The students designed biological systems to make cells blink. This design course grew to a summer competition with 5 teams in 2004, 13 teams in 2005 - the first year that the competition grew internationally, 32 teams in 2006, 54 teams in 2007, and 84 teams in 2008. Projects ranged from banana and wintergreen smelling bacteria, to an arsenic biosensor, to Bactoblood, and buoyant bacteria.
This year, we have 112 teams with over 1700 participants from countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the US participating in the competition. They will specify, design, build, and test simple biological systems made from standard, interchangeable biological parts. The accomplishments of these student teams during one summer are often impressive and may lead to important advances in medicine, energy, and the environment. Teams will present their projects at the iGEM Championship Jamboree October 30 to November 2, 2009.
For more information please visit www.igem.org.
Download the iGEM logo here. Note that the iGEM logo is copyrighted by iGEM and provided here for iGEM participants to help them promote iGEM and their iGEM team.
iGEM Contact Information
Please direct all press questions to: