The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) is an international Synthetic Biology competition, the idea of which emerged from the workshop, organized in MIT, by Tom Knight and Drew Endy during MIT's Independent Activity in 2003 and 2004. Since then, the concept of the competition has spread throughout the world, and each year more than 300 teams and 6,000 university and school students spend their summer preparing for the competition, and in the autumn they meet in Boston to present their research work and compete in the Giant Jamboree.

The competition is the main program of the iGEM Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the progress of Synthetic Biology and Education aiming to develop an open collaborative society.

The iGEM contest primarily gives students and young people the opportunity to cross the boundaries of Synthetic Biology and solve 21st-century problems of significant importance. The goal is students to work in multidisciplinary teams to design a biological system of their own using fundamental techniques of Molecular Biology. At the same time, it is required from each group to connect its work with society.

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