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The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) is coming to Bloomington. It is a contest built on a set of standards that enable students to design novel organisms for engineering purposes with minimal capital and training.

The most fascinating projects I have found are:

  • E. Coli that generates peppermint smell when it is growing and banana smell when it stops
  • Another organism that emits a red dye if it is in arsenic laced water; providing a cheap arsenic test.
  • Photosensitive E.Coli; literal biofilm. In the attached flier, you see a print of the classic "Hello World". There can be no more overt demonstration of the intent to turn biology into engineering/programming.

These are organisms engineered by students! The callout next Thursday is to recruit a team to participate in iGEM2009. Bioengineering experience is not required. It was started at MIT and in four years has grown from 5 to 84 participating schools from around the world.

Meetings Tuesdays at 5:30 COB (Classroom Office Building) 118

And for your browsing pleasure:

Best, -seth