Teaching students to tinker with genetic engineering is good for education and society

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Image via Forbes. Credit: Duke University Photography

Elaborate competitions to build the best robot or design cages to protect falling eggs have been a rite of passage for generations of engineering students. Today, there’s a new contest with the same creativity and competitive spirit, but vastly more sophisticated projects— like mixing-and-matching bits of DNA to create new microorganisms that produce biofuels or costly medicines.

The International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition challenges student teams to use cutting-edge tools from the new field of synthetic biology to design, build, and test genetically engineered organisms.

We think this kind of hands-on experimentation and experience is precisely the way to prepare the next generation of leaders who can help society reap the benefits and manage the risks of synthetic biology—and other fields, for that matter.

Read the full, original story: Fun With Genetic Engineering: Why Letting Students Tinker With Microorganisms Is Good For Education And Society 

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