Team:MADRID UCM/Collaborations

Cloning design - 4C_FUELS

We have been delighted to have found some support along the road towards the entirety of this project and may we say we also found a friend's hand in some other iGEM teams. This is the space where we want to give thanks to those teams that we collaborated with. We believe together we can present better results and succeed in our individual projects by sharing our ideas and receive constructive feedback from each other. In this way, we have contributed to having reinforced the iGEM community and values as well as having forged external relationships in our desire to promote our project and the competition’s ethics.

Main Collaborations

Collaboration with iGEM Marburg

The Marburg iGEM team has eased us with some plasmids belonging to their parts collection. We have expanded Marburg Collection parts, introducing additionally sequence-verified new regulatory elements specific for cyanobacteria, as well as additional helpful parts. Also we have expanded the functionality of Marburg Toolbox via the design of additional cloning tools, like the I-SceI modified acceptor plasmids or the demonstration of additional strategies for expanded domestication assembly. We aim that the introduction of these elements could increase the utilization of Marburg Collection.

Pretty early in our project, we got in contact with Michael Burgis, member of the iGEM team Marburg 2019. Since we were planning to work with cyanobacteria, we wanted to ask for advice and further explanations about the impressive work developed during Marburg's 2019 project. After exchanging some emails we agreed to meet via Zoom.


The 4C_Fuels project aims to use cyanobacteria as living catalysts for light-driven direct carbon dioxide conversion to valuable products. Because of this our aim is to use a newly described cyanobacterial strain, namely S. elongatus PCC 11801. As this strain is very closely related to established chassis like S. elongatus PCC 7942 and UTEX 2973, most of the parts developed by iGEM Marburg 2019 can presumably be used in PCC 11801.
Available research has shown that neutral site 1 from PCC 7942 can indeed be used to integrate genetic constructs genomically in PCC 11801 reference. In addition well characterized regulatory elements like the Anderson promoters, the collection of RBS, and commonly used terminators like BBa_B0015 should also be functional in PCC 11801.

All parts from 2019 and the parts we built this year are compatible with the Marburg collection syntax introduced by the iGEM Team Marburg 2018reference. We are sure that the standardized nature of the parts will be helpful when it comes to implementing the DBTL cycle in any iGEM project.

After a lively discussion, we agreed on a set of 20 parts from the collection of 2019 that we can provide the UC Madrid team with. These parts were then mini-prepped from cryo stocks made in 2019 by Michael subsequently sent to Madrid.

Part List

With this collaboration we have not only benefited from the utilization of a poerful Modular Cloning toolbox, but also promoted the usage of this collection as an standard witin and outside iGEM. In addition, to ease the understanding of the system, we have created a 3D-pritnable physical model of the toolbox that helps to visualize and explain the MoClo system. (Know more about this in our Scientific communication & education page.

Collaboration with iGEM MiamiU_OH

In the beginning of the summer, we met with the MiamiU_OH iGEM team, which is when we realized that not only both of our projects shared a similar motivation, but also how we have planned to address the scientific challenges in a very similar way. After speaking about our project ideas, we found how part of our metabolic design could be also used to enhance carbon capture and then we moved forward to think about collaborating together. MiamiU_OH iGEM team Team offered us the possibility to test our designed metabolic strategies, utilizing our adapted model and the reaction schemes we were planning to implement. SInce they were already evaluating via FBA their own strategies, and one of our metabolic designs could offer a benefit for their goal too, we thought it was a great idea. Then, we prepared all the required information and submitted it to the MiamiU_OH iGEM team team, who kindly studied the metabolic feasibility of our design and remitted it back to us.


We have adapted a Genome Scale model from PCC7942 to PCC11801 using a gap-filling approach in collaboration with David San León from CNB. Since Miami_U Team was working with GSM models collaborating together seemed to be a great idea. They could use our model to evaluate the robustness of their metabolic pathways in a different organism, while we could receive valuable insights in terms of in-silico evaluation of our designed pathways.

iGEM Community

Besides our relation with Marburg and MiamiU_OH teams, we have got in touch with many other iGEM teams, taking part in many different activities. Some of the most relevant activities our team has taken part in are summarized below.

Other Collaborations & Activities

  • Participation in Russian MeetUP during 3th and 4th of July.

    This year iGEM LMSU team from moscow was also working with cyanobacteria. This made our team get in close contact. Because of this we decided to take part within the first iGEM Russian MeetUp, wehre we have not only attended but also made a brief workshop about how Golden Gate and MoClo assembly systems work.

  • Participation in Russian MeetUP during 3th and 4th of July.

    During spring of 2021, we discovered that Marburg and Bielefeld-CeBiTec iGEM teams were already working together for the same purpose. After receiving an invitation from their side and discovering the impressive work they have already made, we decided to join their project and start working together.This ambitious collaboration of 11 different teams, ended in the creation of a strong phototrop community within iGEM.

    Besides our collaboration writting the Phototrophs Handbook V 1.0 (Know more about this para of the collaboration in the Phototrophs Synthetic Biology page), we have attended the differente MeetUp events organized by Marburg/Belefield iGEM teams.

    The first one was during 26th of June was tHe Kick off event, where we made a project presentation and shared ideas, regarding Cyanobacteria and the complexity of standardized lab workflows, during breakthrough sessions.

    However, other three MeetUps were celebrated the 24th of July, 21st of August and 18th of September. ALl of these meetings were crucial for speaking about challenges of working with phototrophs. Amonf them, we shared our experience about accessing newly discovered strains which are protected under biodiversity protection treaties such as Nagoya Protocol.

  • Collaboration with iGEM BOLIVIA

    In order to create a handbook for future iGEMERS, the first iGEM team from Bolivia has decided to not only share its experience, but to interview iGEMERs from all over the globe in order to create a valuable resource for anyone interested into starting an iGEM team. The iGEM for Beginners Handbook (click to download) is a document which goal is to expand the available resources to develop a successful iGEM project. We have collaborated with Bolivia team sharing our experience and advice for future iGEM teams.

  • Collaboration with iGEM Patras

    In the beginning of this iGEM Season, iGEM Patras contacted different iGEM teams in order to explain how their projects were working in certain sustainable development goals. We recorded a small video which eventually was used by iGEM Patras 2021 to produce a short 5 minutes video summarizing the contribution of many iGEM teams to sustainable development.