Using the bacterial photography system as inspiration, this assignment asks the students (individually or in groups) to use their imagination as they propose a design for a genetic system. The emphasis is on the decisions made by engineers during the planning of the design process and not on the genetics. The students are asked to consider existing technologies, risk, reward, and testing. Of course, they are expected to imagine a genetic system that will make a significant contribution to life on earth. You can worry about its feasibility later.
You may also find this design assignment useful for an iGEM team as it develops an idea for a project. Although the assignment itself is written for an individual student, it can be adapted for a group. The brainstorming exercises below lend themselves quite well to a group process, such as is needed within an iGEM team.
Some good resources for teaching this activity are listed at the bottom of the student’s page. You may wish to assign these readings or videos before trying the assignment as a class.