SOURCE: Geneart AG

September 17, 2008 06:00 ET

GENEART Supports Advancements in Synthetic Biology as Partner of the iGEM Competition

REGENSBURG, GERMANY--(Marketwire - September 17, 2008) -

- The iGEM ("International Genetically Engineered Machine")
competition is the only competition of its kind. Its objective is the
development of standardized DNA components for applications in
Synthetic Biology
- GENEART is sponsoring partner of this competition, supporting the
organizers and the student teams and donating one of the main prizes
- 84 Teams of students from all corners of the globe participate

Regensburg, September 17, 2008 - Imagine organisms with an on/off switch, detecting poisons or flashing green! When young scientists in the field of Synthetic Biology compete for the first prize in the iGEM ("International Genetically Engineered Machine") competition, visions arise of commercial applications.

As the global leader in the field of gene synthesis and specialist in Synthetic Biology, the GENEART AG sponsors this student competition for the second year running. Worldwide, iGEM is the only competition of its kind and has developed exponentially since its inception in 2004. Only five US American teams competed in the first summer event. This year, 84 teams from all over the world have registered. The students will spend their summer constructing exchangeable DNA parts (DNA = deoxyribonucleic acid/genetic material) for use as modules in complex Synthetic Biology applications. At the closing iGEM event in November, the competitors have a chance to present their work on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Campus. Prizes are awarded for the most interesting projects.

As a sponsoring partner in the competition, GENEART will provide 210,000 base pairs for the competitors and provide a significant financial support for the competition. Additionally GENEART will provide 10,000 base pairs free of charge to the winners of the special prize for the "most innovative standardized DNA module". The prizes will support the winners' continued work in the laboratory.

Professor Ralf Wagner, GENEART CEO, comments: "From all the life science specialties, the Synthetic Biology is regarded the most future-oriented field. Synthetic Biologists want to use microorganisms as biological production units. In the future, bacteria could for example play a role in producing bio-fuel from post-harvest plant materials. Bacteria could also be used to degrade poisonous substances in soil or to synthesize complex drugs in a cost-efficient way. As the market leader in the gene synthesis we like to lend a hand to this competition and support advancements in this new market segment." There are many application opportunities for Synthetic Biology. They all have in common that they build on de novo DNA synthesis as the key technology for the design and production of standard gene components. Randy Rettberg, founder and Director of iGEM at MIT, elucidates: "The students are able to take their designs and turn them into reality with the necessary DNA sequences provided by GENEART. The newly developed components then become part of a library for use by researchers worldwide. In this way, GENEART makes a large contribution to advancements in Synthetic Biology."


The 2007 iGEM winners developed a switch to deliberately turn certain bacterial functions on or off. Modular systems like this switch for assembly and use in applications of any complexity are at the heart of Synthetic Biology. Having not quite outgrown its infancy, Synthetic Biology is already expected to lead the future developments in the border territories between Biology, Physics and Engineering. The bacterial switch could, for example, be built into harmless bacteria that patrol the human body for cancer cells. The switch could be operated by a specific protein on the surface of cancer cells. The interaction between protein and switch could then trigger a sequence of events inside the bacteria, resulting in the death of the cancer cell. While such applications are not in immediate reach, they still demonstrate great potential benefits of Synthetic Biology.

Please find further information at

For further inquiries, please contact:

Bernd Merkl
Josef-Engert-Str. 11
93053 Regensburg
Phone: +49-(0)941-942 76-638
Fax: +49-(0)941-942 76-711

Frank Ostermair
Better Orange IR & HV AG
Haidelweg 48
81241 Munich
Phone: +49-(0)89-8896906-10
Fax: +49-(0)89-8896906-66

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This document may contain estimates, prognoses and opinions about company plans and objectives, products or services, future results, opinions about these results or opinions leading up to these results. All these projections into the future are subject to risk, uncertainty and unforeseeable change outside the control of the GENEART Group. Many factors may lead to actual results, which considerably deviate from the given projections for these results.


In 2000, GENEART entered the gene synthesis market and has since become the global market leader. Today, the company is one of the leading specialists in the Synthetic Biology field. Experts at GENEART provide key technologies for the development and production of new therapeutics and vaccines. Customers also take advantage of GENEART services to customize enzyme attributes, such as the attributes of enzymes used as detergent additives, and to construct bacteria, which produce complex biopolymers or break down polymers, such as synthetics, petroleum components, etc. Our production and service spectrum spans a wide range, from the production of synthetic genes according to DIN EN ISO 9001-2000, to the creation of gene libraries in the combinatorial biology, to the development and production of DNA-based biologically active substances. The GENEART AG in Regensburg (Germany) and the subsidiary GENEART Inc. in Toronto (Canada) employ more than 190 people. Since May 2006, GENEART is listed on the German Stock Exchange.

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