Team:University College London


Revision as of 09:48, 26 June 2012 by PhilippBoeing (Talk | contribs)


UCL iGEM 2012

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Welcome to the UCL 2012 iGEM project.

This is a wiki-in-progress, keep checking back for updated content and project news.

What is this iGEM I keep hearing about and why is it so great?

The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. This project design and competition format is an exceptionally motivating and effective teaching method (from the iGEM website)

So what system are you building?

The short answer: we are building a Plastic Republic.

The long answer: You may have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a giant vortex of plastic waste and sludge trapped in the North Pacific ocean. We plan to engineer bacteria to clean up the microplastics which constitute a large proportion of the Garbage Patch. We aim to do this in one of two ways:

- Breaking down pieces of plastic until they are no longer toxic to marine organisms

- Clumping together microplastics to form ‘plastic islands’

Our little islands will be left to grow as they accumulate more debris, creating a new marine ecosystem out of our plastic pollution. Eventually our plastic wasteland will be transformed into a synthetic utopia – a new Plastic Republic.

We’ll see you there for iGEM 2030.