Biology has historically been an observational science.
However, the field of synthetic biology challenges this notion.
Synthetic biology deals with designing biological parts and systems that are not naturally existing to solve problems that require the creation of new models rather than just analysis and observation.
It involves altering DNA sequences to design organisms that can perform novel functions, such as produce biofuels or synthesize drug precursors.
Synthetic biology is the engineering of biology.
WHAT IS iGEM?
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) organization is an annual synthetic biology competition aimed mostly towards undergraduates.
It began in 2003 and has since expanded to more than 300 teams registered worldwide. Teams are given a kit containing biological parts from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.
Using these, as well as parts of their own design, teams work over the summer to build biological systems and operate them in cells.
Find out more about the 2018 iGEM season →