The iGEM competition is the biggest international contest in synthetic biology. It is held every year in Boston in October. The goal of the iGEM teams is to find a socially relevant problem which can be tackled using DNA engineering and develop a solution.
This year’s team from TU Delft worked on gene doping detection. Gene doping is the addition of genes to the body to enhance an athlete’s performance. The new genes should produce proteins to improve a person’s physical characteristics, such as muscle growth or production of red blood cells (responsible for carrying oxygen).
To promote responsible use of synthetic biology and to help eliminate gene doping from sport, the Delft students developed a complete gene doping detection method: ADOPE, the Advanced Detection of Performance Enhancement. With their projects they received the prize for ‘Best new Application Project’ and the prize for ‘Best Product Design’.