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Posted: Sep 17, 2013
Gen9 announces call for entries in annual contest recognizing innovation in synthetic biology
(Nanowerk News) Gen9, Inc., a pioneer in the development of scalable technologies for synthesizing and assembling DNA, today announced that it is now accepting entries for its second annual G-Prize. The G-Prize award, conceived and exclusively sponsored by Gen9, was launched to reward innovators and disruptors who are interested in transforming industries such as chemical and enzyme production, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and even data storage using synthesized DNA constructs. The deadline for submission is November 1, 2013.
Gen9 is a privately held company with a portfolio of next-generation gene synthesis technologies that enable the high-throughput, automated production of DNA constructs at lower cost and higher accuracy than previous methods. Together, these technologies form the foundation of the Gen9 BioFab® platform, which has the capacity to generate tens of thousands of synthetic gene fragments in just a few square feet of laboratory space.
“The next wave of innovation across virtually every conceivable industry and life science discipline will be driven by the use of synthetic DNA constructs,” said Kevin Munnelly, President and CEO of Gen9. “The G-Prize provides scientists on the very leading edges of this innovation ready access to biologically derived building blocks that will allow them to take their big idea and think even bigger.”
Winners of the 2012 G-Prize included scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Weizmann Institute, MIT, Institute of Systems & Synthetic Biology and NASA who are using synthetic DNA constructs to advance projects across a number of interesting applications, including computer-aided design, medicine and space exploration.
"Winning Gen9's 2012 G-Prize has been a great boost to our research. With the chance to create 500 new proteins, we were able to test our most ambitious ideas and develop better computer-aided design methods in the process,” said Tanja Kortemme, Ph.D., Professor of Bioengineering, UCSF. “We now have a number of synthetic molecular parts that function as novel sensor/actuators - proteins that detect and respond to the presence of small molecules in living cells. The availability of designed synthetic genes allowed us to think on a completely different scale to make this possible."
The G-Prize contest is open to scientists working at academic or public-benefit organizations only. Entries will be judged by a panel of experts selected by Gen9. One prize will be awarded this year for 1,000,000 base pairs of synthesized DNA. The winner will have the option of using double-stranded GeneBits® DNA constructs (from 500 base pairs to 1000 base pairs in length), and/or GeneBytes® DNA constructs (from 1000 base pairs to 3000 base pairs). Any intellectual property rights specific to an entry will remain the sole property of the contestants or their institution. Based on the current average market cost of DNA constructs, the total market value of these prizes exceeds $500,000.