This article was originally written for Genome Alberta’s Genomics Blog.
Normally at this point in the year, students around the world would be hard at work in the lab, getting ready for the iGEM competition. Teams competing at this synthetic biology event are trying to find ways to engineer biology to solve real-life problems.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this year anything but “normal.” Most universities, schools, and labs are currently closed and it’s still too early to tell if any of them will be opening in the fall.
That hasn’t stopped three Alberta teams from participating this year, though. The University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, and Lethbridge high school teams are all still competing despite not being physically together.
But how exactly do you do synthetic biology work when a virus is (ironically) stopping you from going into the lab?