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The foundations of synthetic biology are built on molecular biology and genetic engineering. One of the purposes of synthetic biology is to make biology easier to engineer by the creation of standardized biological parts and devices. There are a wide range of potential applications for synthetic biology and a variety of approaches to constructing parts and systems. Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students from around the world apply synthetic biology principles at the annual International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition to demonstrate functioning biological systems created from standardized parts. The iGEM competition will continue to add to the growing field of synthetic biology and the global bioeconomy through innovations in projects and training of STEM students.

In this study, a survey was conducted of the iGEM team participants at the 2014 competition, specifically to investigate teams that had biomanufacturing as the foundation for their projects. Teams that participated during the 2014 iGEM competition comprised of STEM undergraduate and graduate students from different geographical regions. The primary source of information for this study was from 2014 iGEM team websites.

The results of this study found that many student-led teams are able to build on the fundamentals of synthetic biology to generate a wide range of useful bioproducts. In doing so, students are training themselves for future careers in STEM and expanding the field of synthetic biology.

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