More than a million base pairs of custom-designed DNA—valued at over $500,000 based on current average market cost—will be awarded later this year to four winners that demonstrate “creative and innovative” approaches for using synthetic DNA, in the inaugural edition of an annual contest conceived and sponsored by Gen9.

Gen9’s first-annual G-Prize contest is designed to foster creative and innovative approaches for using synthetic DNA constructs to advance industries including chemical and enzyme production, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and even data storage. The contest is open only to researchers working at academic or public-benefit organizations, with entries to be judged by a panel of experts selected by Gen9, a developer of next-generation technologies for synthesizing and assembling DNA constructs for use in commercializing DNA synthesis and fabrication platforms.

The 1st Place winner will receive 500 GeneBits, up to 500kb; while 2nd Place wins 300 GeneBits, up 300kb; and the two 3rd Place winners, 100 GeneBits, up to 100kb to two teams. Any intellectual property rights specific to an entry will remain the sole property of the contestants or their institution, according to Gen9.

Deadline for entries is Sept. 30. More information is available at

“We look forward to hearing from the innovative community of researchers who have big ideas for constructively building on the many important industries ripe for modernization via synthetic biology,” Kevin Munnelly, president and CEO of Gen9, said in a statement. “Synthetic biology represents perhaps the greatest opportunity to modernize industry at ‘Moore’s law’ scale since silicon.”

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