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iGEM 2020 Competition Website

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2020 season of the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition. The Competition is now over. Please see below for results!

Undergraduate Grand Prize Winner


Growing fish consumption rates encouraged marine culture farms to implement recirculating aquaculture systems that make intensive fish production compatible with environmental sustainability. Even if these systems reduce the use of terrestrial resources, water recirculation in such systems can cause significant losses because of bacterial or viral infections. A common pathogen of fish infections is the Flavobacterium genus bacteria, which can cause fish death in a few days after the initial infection. To detect the infection as soon as possible, we developed a rapid detection test based on helicase-dependent amplification and lateral-flow assay methods. Additionally, we created a novel treatment method which relies on a quorum sensing mechanism and exolysin protein with the aim of decreasing antibiotic consumption levels. Finally, to prevent forthcoming infections, our third goal is to provide a prevention system based on subunit vaccines encapsulated in alginate beads.

Presentation | Wiki | Poster

Undergraduate 1st Runner Up


Space exploration drives us further away from Earth and will lead to year-long space travel. Some essential nutrients, such as vitamins, cannot be stored on the spacecraft since they rapidly lose nutritional value over time. iGEMINI aims to supplement astronauts’ food with nutritional and tasty yeast supplement. We designed a quasi-autonomous coculture between the acetogen bacterium Clostridium ljungdahlii and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This system uses minimal resources which are currently considered as waste on spacecraft. As a proof of concept, the yeast has been engineered to produce provitamin A, an essential vitamin for human health. Since astronauts' tastes are altered by physiological changes in their body, we give them the choice to choose their favorite flavors by using optogenetic systems. Our project builds new bridges between space research and microbiology, and multiple efforts have been done to promote space synthetic biology as a truly promising and exciting scientific field.

Presentation | Wiki | Poster

Undergraduate 2nd Runner Up


Tea is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. For a long period, a large amount of glyphosate has been used as a herbicide, which raises a severe problem of pesticide residues in tea food. XMU-China aims at developing an efficient glyphosate detection and degradation system. For the detection system, glyphosate is degraded by several enzymes and then transferred into a measurable fluorescence signal caused by the NADPH; and the degradation system plans to disintegrate glyphosate to be AMPA to minimize the toxicity. Two suicide switches controlled by different inducers are also projected. It is hoped that this project could provide new ideas for the detection and degradation of pesticide residues. Taking care of the earth by tiny bacteria, we here promise a better future of tea.

Presentation | Wiki | Poster

Overgraduate Grand Prize Winner


This year’s COVID-19 outbreak demonstrated how the world is impacted by a pandemic, causing over one million deaths worldwide and severely damaging the quality of life of billions. Rapid diagnostics are vital to keep an outbreak under control and reduce the need for disrupting measures. Here, we present an innovative, modular technique called Rapidemic that allows for the rapid detection of nucleic acids of pathogenic species in a future outbreak. By combining targeted amplification (RPA), nickase-based GQ DNAzyme generation (LSDA), and DNAzyme-catalyzed oxidation, our method reliably and rapidly detects pathogenic DNA or RNA and provides the user with a simple colorimetric output. Because it does not require a lab or external power source, our technology enables point-of-care testing in both high- and low-resource areas. This way, Rapidemic offers a global solution to a global problem and allows us to be one step ahead in tackling Disease X!

Presentation | Wiki | Poster

Overgraduate 1st Runner Up


The complex regeneration of biochemical energy sources represents a cost-intensive hurdle for many production and research processes. With M.A.R.S., we want to establish an innovative strategy to create light-powered, mitochondrion-like protocells and a bioreactor that will recycle those cells by magnetism. Through the design of our reusable recycling system it will be able to power every ATP-driven enzyme cascade, making M.A.R.S. universally applicable. By extracting bacteriorhodopsin out of Halobacterium salinarum, a phototrophic archaea species, and combining it with an ATP synthase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae in self-produced polymersomes and liposomes, we get simple but effective chassis, which make it possible to cover the energy requirement of any enzyme reaction cascade. Binding those chassis to magnet particles via anchor peptides enables the reuse of the entire protocell system within the reactor by means of magnetic purification, whereby they can be fed directly into enzyme cascades, without depending on living cells.

Presentation | Wiki | Poster

High School Grand Prize Winner


Seasonal flu and pandemics, which account for millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths, require rapid and reliable detection mechanisms to implement preventive and therapeutic measures. Current detection methods of viral infections have limitations in speed, accuracy, accessibility, and usability. This project presents a novel, widely applicable viral diagnostic test that uses a modified version of rolling circle amplification (RCA) to be sensitive, specific, direct RNA targeted, colorimetric and operable at room temperature. We are specifically detecting the following high-impact viruses: SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A (H1N1pdm09), and Influenza B (Victoria Lineage), although our test can be adapted to any viral infection. Results using synthetic viral DNA and RNA sequences show that our diagnostic test takes approximately one hour, detects femtomolar concentrations of RNA strands, and differentiates between virus strains. We believe implementing our diagnostic test will provide faster responses to future viral-related outbreaks for quicker societal recovery.

Presentation | Wiki | Poster

High School 1st Runner Up


We produced ALFA (Aptamer Lateral-Flow Assay), an efficient, membrane-based test kit for amatoxins. Replacing antibodies with aptamers - a type of oligonucleotide - in LFIAs (Lateral Flow ImmunoAssay), several drawbacks that antibodies present (low heat stability, heavy reliance on immunogenicity of target molecules, etc.) are eliminated. Simultaneously, we developed a sandwich assay involving both aptamers and antibodies, combining the benefits of using either ligand. scFvs (Single-Chained antibody Fragments) have simpler structures and can be made through regular protein synthesis procedures, while conventional processes involve the mammalian immune system. Applying ELISA (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) to our design, we immobilize purified scFv onto the ALFA pad, then coat our samples - amanitin - onto the scFvs. BSA-conjugated aptamers are then coated to the amanitin. Hopefully, this test kit will assist in identification of common species of poisonous mushrooms, reducing cases of poisonings worldwide.

Presentation | Wiki | Poster

Relive The Virtual Giant Jamboree

Opening Ceremony (Nov 13)

Contribution Day (Nov 21) Conclusions

Keynote: Reshma Shetty

Keynote: Aline S. Romão-Dumaresq

Keynote: Paul Freemont

Keynote: Elena Rosca

Keynote: Otim Geoffrey

Keynote: Janet Standeven

Want to see more?

See the Virtual Giant Jamboree channel on the iGEM Video Universe:

iGEM 2020 Results

See the Complete Results below:

Judging Feedback

See what judges thought of your project! Access comments and voting details for your team by following the link below. Note: You need to be logged into your iGEM account to view the feedback for your team.

PR Toolkit

Want to tell your team's story in the news? Check out the PR Toolkit!

See also: iGEM 2020 results press release

Instructions for collecting Certificates and Awards

See below for instructions about collecting participation certificates, medals, and awards.

Need something uplifting to binge? iGEMers are out to change the world using synthetic biology!

See what iGEM Competition teams have accomplished this year:

2-minute Team Project Promotion videos are ready to watch now!

20-minute Team Presentation videos are ready to watch now!

See iGEM team project documentation: Explore the team wikis

After iGEM

Congratulations! You've all been through this shared experience that is iGEM. Now we invite you to take part in the next phase of iGEM… After iGEM. After iGEM is here to excite, support, and inspire the 40,000+ iGEMers to continue leading in synthetic biology wherever they are around the world.

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Join the After iGEM Community:

After iGEM: What happens beyond the competition?

What's Next? After iGEM

249 Teams Participated in the 2020 iGEM Competition!

View the iGEM 2020 Team Map on Google Maps.

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