For 2019, iGEM is removing the competition requirement for shipping part samples to the Registry. Instead, we want teams to focus on the documentation of their parts. We are introducing the concept of “data release”, the process of formally publishing parts and their documentation on the Registry. At the end of the year, iGEM HQ will work with our new synthesis partner Twist Bioscience to synthesize samples of well-documented parts in BioBrick RFC and Type IIS formats so that they are available to our community through future DNA Distributions.
We're changing the way teams share in iGEM!
Sharing is a critical facet of iGEM. Since the very beginning, the Competition has followed a “Get and Give” philosophy. Sample submission was just one way in which teams could give back to the community. Each year, teams would receive the DNA Distribution at the start of the season, synthesize or assemble new parts during the season, and send samples of their new parts to iGEM HQ before the Jamboree. Those samples would then be included in future DNA Distributions. In this way, the teams of one year could benefit from teams that came before them, and contribute to the success of the teams that follow them.
Instead of sharing samples, teams will now share information. In the past, shipping samples to iGEM HQ was a way that a team could say “this part is ready”. Now, a team can indicate “this part is ready” by formally publishing the part’s documentation via data release. At the start of the season, teams will receive the DNA distribution and synthesize or assemble new parts. They will spend the season documenting their measurement and characterization data on the Registry. Finally, at the end of the season they will formally release their part documentation by the Registry Freeze. In the spirit of sharing, teams will need to consider all the information about a part that is useful for future users: What is the sequence? What does it do? Does it work? Etc.
Teams must document their data on Part Pages on the Registry. Click here to learn more.
More information about Data Release coming soon.
Why is this important?
In iGEM’s vision for the future of synthetic biology, synthetic biologists no longer manipulate DNA; you wouldn’t be concerned with physical samples and assembly because you would synthesize your designs entirely. In this future, exchanging information about parts will replace the need to exchange physical samples between labs. We have always known that the information about a part is what is important and invaluable to others. That's why documenting parts on the Registry and making sure that they are well characterized and measured is crucial.
Since 2014, IDT's generous offer of free DNA synthesis has allowed iGEM teams to live in this future, synthesizing parts for projects so that teams could focus more on design and less on assembly. This year, together with IDT and our new partner Twist Bioscience, we will be taking another step towards this vision, allowing teams to focus on the documentation and characterization of parts and not on the preparation and shipment of samples.
Learn more about iGEM's vision for the future of synthetic biology:
What does this mean for me and my team?
This change will give teams more flexibility to work at the cutting edge of synthetic biology. You can continue to assemble your parts with your desired methods (Synthesis, 3A Assembly, Type IIS, Gibson, etc.) and characterize your parts with the vectors and chassis of your choice, without the worry of having to rebuild samples in pSB1C3.
However, in order for us to synthesize and share your parts through the Registry and future Distribution Kits, the parts you nominate for medal and awards criteria must still be BioBrick RFC or Type IIS compatible. In addition, all part documentation, including the part sequence and all characterization data obtained during your research, must be on the relevant Part Pages on the Registry by the Registry Freeze on October 21, 2019.
Checklist for teams:
- You don't have to send any physical shipments in the mail to iGEM Headquarters
- You don't have to rebuild your parts in pSB1C3
- Your parts must still be BioBrick RFC or Type IIS compatible. New Type IIS parts must adhere to the specifications described on this page.
- Parts must be well documented on the relevant Part Pages on the Registry of Standard Biological Parts by the Registry Freeze: October 21, 2019
- You should review the changes to medal and awards criteria with regards to this change, and make sure to read through the Judging Hub!
We will have updates and announcements in the near future as we work on software and documentation for this change. If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to hq [AT] igem [DOT] org.