Gen9 today named the five winners of its inaugural G-Prize contest, who collectively will receive more than 1 million base pairs of DNA manufactured with the company’s next-generation gene synthesis technology. Based on the current average market cost of similar DNA constructs, the total market value of these prizes exceeds $500,000.
Winners received double-stranded GeneBits® DNA constructs, or gene fragments from 500 to 1,024 base pairs long. GeneBits can generate tens of thousands of synthetic gene fragments per year in just a few square feet of laboratory space.
Tanja Kortemme, University of California, San Francisco, captured 1st Place, and 500 GeneBits up to 500 kb, for her Computer-Aided Design of Sensor/Actuators.
The other G-Prize winners:
Sarel Fleishman of the Weizmann Institute won 2nd place (300 GeneBits, up to 300kb) for his Computational Design of Novel Binding Antibodies: Designing High-Specificity and High-Affinity Insulin Binders.
Alfonso Jaramillo of France’s Institute of Systems & Synthetic Biology and Xavier Duportet of MIT each captured 3rd place (100 GeneBits, up to 100kb, two winners). Jaramillo won for his Combinatorial Synthesis of RNA Integrated Circuits to Program Living Cells; while Duportet’s winning application was Towards the Manipulation of Genomes On-Demand: High Throughput Discovery of New Recombination Sites.
Lynn Rothschild of NASA received the CEO’s Award (100 GeneBits, up to 100kb) for her DNA Toolkit for Space Exploration.
Contestants submitted applications describing their ideas for using the gene constructs. Those entries were judged by a panel of experts chosen by Gen9: Christopher Emig, a graduate student pursing a Ph.D. in bioengineering at Stanford University; Michael C. Jewett, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University; and Sri Kosuri, Sc.D., staff scientist on the Advanced Technology Team at the Wyss Institute at Harvard.
Gen9 specializes in developing scalable technologies for synthesizing and assembling DNA. The company conceived and exclusively sponsors G-Prize with the goal of fostering creative and innovative approaches for using synthetic DNA to advance industries that include pharmaceuticals, biofuels, chemical and enzyme production, and data storage.