SOURCE: Geneart AG

June 24, 2009 01:18 ET

GENEART Supports iGEM Contest for the Third Year in a Row

REGENSBURG, GERMANY--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) -

- The iGEM ("International Genetically Engineered Machine") contest aims at the development of standardized DNA building blocks for different applications in Synthetic Biology

- GENEART supports organizers and participants as a partner of the contest

- 112 student teams from all over the world participate

Regensburg, June 24, 2009 - GENEART AG, world market leader for gene synthesis and specialist in Synthetic Biology, supports the international iGEM ("International Genetically Engineered Machine") contest for applications in Synthetic Biology for the third time in a row. Student teams spend their summer holidays constructing, with the help of standardized exchangeable building blocks from DNA (DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid/genetic material), for instance bacteria with which cancer cells can be specifically destroyed or environmental toxins such as arsenic can be detected and degraded. This year 112 international teams, each under the direction of leading scientists in the area of Synthetic Biology, compete for the most innovative idea. The contest has seen a rapid development since its inauguration in 2004 and is now considered to be one of the largest international scientific competitions.

All DNA building blocks developed within the scope of iGEM to date - by now more than 1,000 - are collected in a kind of library and are available to all iGEM teams for their projects as well. The goal of the contest is to combine already existing DNA building blocks with self developed constructions and thus create complex bio-systems with new functions. As partner of the contest, GENEART will provide 280.000 base pairs to the participants to produce new DNA fragments. At the same time, GENEART provides financial support for the competition. Prizes will be awarded to the most interesting projects. The prizes are presented in October at the iGEM award ceremony at the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA (USA).

Synthetic Biology is considered a seminal key technology in the life sciences. Even though still in the early stages of development, there are by now more than 170 companies, research teams and other organizations in the USA, and more than 50 in Europe, actively involved in the Synthetic Biology sector.* The applications of Synthetic Biology are manifold (see below). But what they have in common is that they build on gene synthesis as the key technology for the design and production of standard components. "As the world-wide leading provider in the area of gene synthesis we support the development of this new research discipline and thus tomorrow's customers through our commitment to this contest. With the help of gene synthesis, we can provide participants with tailor-made DNA fragments for the realization of their ideas. At the same time, GENEART gets very early insights into projects and technological developments of the far future," states Prof. Dr. Ralf Wagner, CEO of GENEART AG. In this newly developing market GENEART is also involved in several European projects that are publicly funded - for instance the development of standardized biological switches.


Synthetic Biology background:

The goal of Synthetic Biology is the creation of organisms - bacteria, algae or yeasts - with special properties that are useful to humans. They are intended to e.g. fight cancer cells after infiltration into the body of patients, or degrade pollutants in the environment or produce drugs, vaccines, fuels or other chemicals in vitro as a type of bioreactor. Unlike already existing genetically altered organisms, they are intended to produce or degrade significantly more complex combinations. Important examples of Synthetic Biology are research projects to construct bioreactors which produce bio fuels from plant waste. British Petroleum and the US Department of Energy currently invest more than USD 500M in this area.

As already common in electrical engineering, standardized components are supposed to be developed and used in Synthetic Biology as well, with the help of which the desired bio-plants can be constructed. GENEART designs and delivers the components in the form of DNA building blocks. These DNA building blocks are newly synthesized and thus help circumvent the limitations of nature. Gene synthesis offers the highest freedom in design and thus accelerates the progress in biotechnology as well as in Synthetic Biology.

Additional information at:

For further inquiries, please contact:

Dr. Karoline Stürmer
Josef-Engert-Str. 11
93053 Regensburg
Phone: +49-(0)941-942 76-417
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

Legal Information

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. GENEART AG in Regensburg (Germany) and the subsidiaries GENEART Inc. in Toronto (Canada) and GENEART Inc. in San Francisco (USA) employ more than 190 people. GENEART is listed on the German Stock Exchange.

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