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iGem 2010

Another interesting iGem event this year, which will be the last super-sized jamboree held at MIT. Starting next year, iGem director Randy Rettberg announced during his introductory remarks, iGem will consist of several regional events, with winners going on to compete in a smaller final event in Cambridge. Charlie Schick and I spoke with Randy about the reasoning behind this tough decision, which I’ll discuss in a later post.

For now, just a couple notes on “trends” at this year’s event: (1) A continuing push into biological chassis beyond E. coli and the few other usual suspects — several teams this year worked in plants (including Harvard’s terrific iGarden project), and at least one team developed some new tools for working in worms. (2) Better, flashier “marketing” of projects — including video and other multimedia and more plain English explanations of the work — and a growing interest in the intersection of art and design with pure science. (See also Synthetic Aesthetics, a pre-iGem event that included iGemmers like Christina Agapakis, as well as rock stars such as Drew Endy.)

Art from Team Bangalore's "synthetic ecologies" project

Art from Team Bangalore

Will post much more soon, but here, the “plain English” video produced by this year’s winning team from Slovenia. Also, check out Charlie Schick’s compilation of links to other team videos.

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