- During the summer, we had the pleasure of meeting two Mexican teams in Monterrey. The iGEM team from Tec de Monterrey organized a mini iGEM congress in which we also met members from the UANL team. We attended several lectures covering fields related to the development of synthetic biology and iGEM competition such as bioethics, project management, and an overview of synthetic biology that included the experience of the tutors from the 2010 Tec de Monterrey iGEM team during that year. We even had a meeting with the FedEx customs manager Manuel Tizacareño with the purpose of finding an appropriate way to reduce the extreme difficulties that Mexican iGEM teams have to go through in order to import reagents, registry parts, bacterial strains and DNA syntheses.
- The best part was the recreational integration between the three iGEM teams. We shared insights, projects, anecdotes and laboratory tips & tricks. We talked about the possibility of creating a group of Mexican iGEM teams to pressure governmental institutions to elucidate the biological materials shipment processes for scientific research. It is a fact that this issue is one of the main reasons that hamper the improvement of biological science research in Mexico, especially in the fields of biotechnology and molecular biology.
- After the mini congress, we headed back to Queretaro (road trip!) and continued to work. After several weeks (quite too many) we finally received our DNA distribution kit from the registry of standard parts. We were disappointed that after all the trouble, some plates had their seal broken. Luckily, Vinoo, from the iGEM headquarters, sent more plates to us via the Tec de Monterrey iGEM team in an attempt to avoid the hassle of customs.
- The Tec de Monterrey iGEM team had some troubles with some of their parts, so they asked us for help. We were happy to assist them, and we donated several biobricks including a ribosome binding site, and inducible promoters.