The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. The student team is going to be given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at our university over the summer, we will use these parts and new parts of our 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, 84 teams in 2008, 112 teams in 2009, 130 teams in 2010 and 165 teams in 2011. Projects ranged from a rainbow of pigmented bacteria, to banana and wintergreen smelling bacteria, an arsenic biosensor, bactoblood, and buoyant bacteria.

This year there are 193 teams all over the world entering, with only 8 from the UK.
We at the university of Leicester have entered a team! In fact the university's first team into the 2012 competition with hopes to continue the project into subsequent years. This first run of the competition will be to set out the basics of the project, as well as to get the biology and main genetics nailed down allowing future entrances into the competition of the university to build on the main idea.

Project idea/ description to follow

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