Genetic Engineering Attribution Challenge Hosted By altLabs

competition
complete
$60,000

boy in classroom

About the project


Welcome to the world of genetic engineering! It’s a world packed with exciting developments across industries and fields of study, and we’re already living in it. Every day, genetically engineered systems produce critical products in agriculture, manufacturing, and medicine. Revolutionary techniques are unlocking new approaches for previously untreatable diseases, through engineered immune cells and other emerging gene therapies. Synthetic biology already has a substantial impact on our lives and has the capacity to further transform human, animal, and environmental health across our planet.

Genetic engineering is a powerful set of creative technologies that require responsible use. As we enjoy the prosperity and progress these techniques make possible, it is crucial to develop tools to enable responsible innovation and minimize unintended consequences. In an effort to enhance accountability, altLabs is developing algorithms to analyze genetically engineered DNA and identify the lab that created it. We call this task genetic engineering attribution, and algorithmic tools such as these will be pivotal in the ongoing responsible development and implementation of advanced biotechnology.

The influence of genetic engineering on our world is expanding. Techniques to perform genetic engineering are becoming more accessible, and the subsequent outcomes are hard to predict. By improving the accuracy with which we attribute engineered DNA to its lab-of-origin, we encourage responsible development and thoughtful innovation. It is imperative for human wellbeing and environmental integrity that we maintain accountability for developments in genetic engineering and assign due credit to the researchers who strive to produce these transformative technologies. A successful competition will help ensure that we continue to maximize the benefits of synthetic biology while minimizing the unintended consequences of anonymous development.

About altLabs

altLabs’ mission is to promote a culture of forward-thinking technology development and responsible application, and through the formulation of new risk-mitigating technology, we’re hoping to set an example. With backgrounds in physics, bio-engineering, nanotechnology and computer science, our team advises and coordinates with partner organizations around the world to create new tools and novel pathways toward reliable, resilient technology that benefits everyone.

Learn more about us and our other projects by visiting our website.