Synthetic Biology is an emerging interdisciplinary science which includes the design and engineering of biological systems and living organisms for purposes of improving applications for industry or biological research. The goal is to create a standard registry of genetic parts which can be used as components in the design of biological systems, in the way that electrical components are used in electrical system design.
The girls at Alverno Heights Academy (High School) in Sierra Madre, CA are bright, creative young scientists. With the support of mentors at Caltech in Pasadena, CA, they have formed an iGEM team.
International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition is the preeminent international synthetic biology competition. The team will conduct authentic scientific research over an 8-month period, culminating in a synthetic biology conference, iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston, Oct 27-31, 2016, which includes presentations and poster sessions.
It has been called the World Cup of Science.
Synthetic Biology has many exciting applications in medicine, biosensors, materials, biological research, etc. This cutting edge technology has already produced huge medical successes, such as ready production of drugs:
1) Human Insulin, created by inserting the gene for human insulin in E. coli bacteria, rather than harvesting insulin from pig or cow pancreases.
2) Artemisinin, a front-line anti-malaria drug, produced in yeast, rather than via laborious harvesting of the drug from plants.
3) Human Growth Hormone, produced in E.coli bacteria, rather than painstaking extraction from human cadavers.