Team:Gaston Day School


What is iGEM?

With the help of Ms. Anne Byford, the Gaston Day School iGEM team, consisting of students from the 10th to 12th grades in high school, are developing a bioengineered organism that will detect the presence of nitrate pollution in water. This year 112 teams from all over the world are competing in the Synthetic Biology iGEM competition.

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 expect 120 teams with over 1200 participants from countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the US to participate in the competition. They will specify, design, build, and test simple biological systems made from standard, interchangeable biological parts. Teams will present their projects at the iGEM Championship Jamboree in November 2009.

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Synthetic Biology... huh?

The new field of Synthetic Biology was first recognized in 2003. It can be defined as:

A) the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems, and

B) the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes.

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