based on standard parts
iGEM 2015The iGEM 2015 competition season is in progress! Visit 2015.igem.org for more information.
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open community and collaboration.
iGEM runs three main programs: the iGEM Competition - an international competition for students interested in the field of synthetic biology; the Labs Program - 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.
Click bellow to find more information about each program.
iGEM runs the premiere student competition in synthetic biology. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts and work over the summer to build and test biological systems in living cells, ranging from bacteria to mammalian cells.
Academic labs can also be part of the iGEM community. They can subscribe to the Labs Program to conduct their own research using synthetic biology based on parts, and have access to the same resources as the iGEM competition teams.
iGEM Headquarters also operates and maintains the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. The Registry has over 20,000 standard biological parts, with open access to all participating groups.
The iGEM competition also promotes strong values in the teams. Students are expected to be honest with their research, cooperate with one another, practice good sportsmanship, be respectful of their peers, and celebrate everyone's efforts. The team that best embodies these values as determined by the judges will receive the Chairman's Award at the Giant Jamboree and the respect of the entire iGEM community.
Read more about the iGEM Values.
iGEM is a multifaceted program in which students can develop new skills. The different components of the competition not only make it a strong and thorough program but also allow students to be involved in outreach and education, development of new technologies, an international community, responsible and safe research practices, and project design.
Read more about the iGEM Facets.
iGEM began in January 2003 as an independent study course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where students developed biological devices to make cells blink. This course became a summer competition with 5 teams in 2004 and continued to grow to 13 teams in 2005; it has now expanded to 280 teams in 2015, reaching over more than 30 countries.
The competition was originally aimed at college students but it has grown to include overgraduate and high school students. The competition's projects also grew in complexity. Tracks where introduced to the competition to give teams focus areas for their projects and Regional Jamborees and World Championships where held in the past. Past projects have ranged from a rainbow of pigmented bacteria, to banana and wintergreen scented bacteria, to the development of an arsenic biosensor to screen drinking water.
More information about the competition can be found in Competition page or you can visit the Previous Competitions page to explore the teams that participated in previous years.
Growth of teams from 2004 to 2014
iGEM became an international event early on. The map below shows all the iGEM teams from 2004 to 2014.
You can also visit 2015.igem.org to find out more about this year's teams.
Read what people are saying about iGEM by clicking on the buttons below.
'Forget the hoverboard. Real sign we’re living in the future is 21yr old undergrads sequencing whole genomes for #iGEM'
Tom Ellis, Senior Lecturer in Synthetic Biology, Imperial College London
Want to support iGEM?
You can send us an email: hq at igem dot org or find other ways to reach us in our contact page.
iGEM Foundation financials, including IRS Forms 1023 and 990, are available upon request. Audited financial statements are available here.