The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open community and collaborative global synbio community. It is a multifaceted program with infinite possibilities and unique opportunities. It allows the student to create new technologies, become a part of an international community, build startups, learn safe and secure lab practices, and learn to practice ethical science.
iGEM runs three main programs. The Labs Program is a program for academic labs to use the same resources as the competition teams, and the Registry of Standard Biological Parts – a growing collection of genetic parts use for building biological devices and systems. Some examples of these user-tested resources include CRISPRs, reporter proteins, and stable genomic integration parts.
The third program that iGEM runs is the competition. The iGEM competition gives students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issues facing the world. During, the summer students from 340 universities across the globe form multidisciplinary teams that design and build genetically engineered systems using BioBricks, and at the end of the competition season students travel to Boston, Massachusetts(USA) to attend the Jamboree event to showcase their research. Teams present their work through posters and oral presentations, and compete for prizes and awards, such as the coveted BioBrick trophy. Some notable work to come out of the competition includes the creation of a framework for multi-plasmid systems and the modular control of gene expression speed using protein degradation tags.
Sponsors of iGEM include: Opetrons, Promega, MathWorks, IDT, Ginkgo Bioworks, Genscript, FBI and more.