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PLTW Hosts Only iGEM Synthetic Biology Competition

GREENFIELD, Ind.- (June 28, 2012) A cell that digests gluten. Another that turns carbon monoxide into a gas that smells. Another that regulates blood sugar in those with diabetes. All of these “machines” will be on display this Saturday when 21 high school teams from across the United States and world show off their brainpower at the second annual iGEM synthetic biology competition at Greenfield Central High School (GCHS).

The iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) High School Jamboree is currently the only one of its kind in the world. Traditionally a worldwide synthetic biology competition aimed at undergraduate students, GCHS’s Project Lead The Way Biomedical Science teacher Rebecca Schini approached the iGEM Foundation last year to ask for a high school competition. With iGEM’s blessing, Schini adapted the competition to high school students. Last year, five Indiana teams competed; this year, 40 teams registered and 21 will actually compete: 11 from the United States, plus teams from Germany, Canada, Turkey, South Korea, Latin America and Greece. Many of those from the United States, including the teams from Greenfield Central and Warren Central, are involved in Project Lead The Way’s Biomedical Sciences program in their high schools. They used the iGEM project as their senior capstone course.

The teams were given a kit of biological parts earlier this year and have been working with those parts and parts of their own, to design and build biological systems and operate them in living cells. Saturday, the teams will demonstrate their machines in front of a panel of judges in hopes of being named the world’s High School iGEM champion. Judges include individuals from Indianapolis-based Elanco, IUPUI, Purdue University, and Project Lead The Way.

WHAT: iGEM Jamboree High School Competition
WHEN: This Saturday, June 30, 2012
WHERE: Greenfield Central High School, Greenfield, Ind.

For more information on the iGEM Foundation, visit