Chapter 6. iGEM’s First Giant Jamboree

I expect that BioCoders are familiar enough with synthetic biology to know (and love) what iGEM is all about. I was once like you. I had been to the local events and regional jamborees, and I thought they were great. But I had never been to the Boston Jamboree, and the 2014 competition was unlike any other to date.

A Giant Jamboree

For a few days every year, Boston becomes home to some of the most impressive, outlandish, and curious people and projects in the synthetic biology domain and its supporting fields. This year, to celebrate the competition’s 10th anniversary, iGEM HQ invited all participating teams to join together at the same time in one Giant Jamboree.

At the five-day event, 245 teams gathered under one roof to demonstrate new organisms, concepts, data, and protocols to one another and the who’s who of synbio, including 105 judges and hundreds of other experts from all over the world.

Generally speaking, teams pursue technically challenging projects using feasible (though oftentimes high-risk) biological approaches, and so projects explore a vast array of moonshots to change the way we manufacture materials, treat diseases, generate energy, or create artistic masterpieces using living organisms and natural materials.

And though iGEM is a competition only in title (there are no points), teams typically devote their waking lives to their work. Accordingly, medals and other awards are presented to the teams that merit ...

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