• igemwageningen

Hello World, meet Cattlelyst!

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Hello everyone!

We're glad to introduce you to Cattlelyst, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) iGEM team 2021! With Cattlelyst, we propose a solution to reduce the impact of gas-emissions from livestock by developing a biofilter specific for converting harmful gasses into their inert forms.

To make a well-rounded project, we will integrate computational analyses and simulations with experimental validation for our multifaceted approach. Our goal is to reduce the emissions of both methane and ammonia and hence partly relieve their detrimental impact on the environment. We look forward to giving you further sneak peaks on what we will be working on!

Cattlelyst? iGEM? What are these terms? We’ll answer these questions in our first post!

Cattlelyst is the name of the iGEM team of WUR. For the ones of you wondering where this name comes from, here’s our explanation: our name is a smart mix of 1) our loyal furry friends, cattle, and 2) catalyst, which is something that increases the rate of a reaction. We are developing “the something” that converts the detrimental gaseous emissions of cattle, hence our name Cattlelyst.

If you are like us, and hadn't heard of iGEM before, then no worries! We love to talk about iGEM, so here is a brief description of what this competition is all about and some insights into the structure of our team.

The acronym iGEM stands for international Genetically Engineered Machine. As the name suggests, it is an annual international competition that stimulates students around the globe, from high schools and universities, in coming up with projects that harness the power of synthetic biology for real life applications. The competition encourages and allows all participants to think outside of the box. There are a lot of prizes that can be won!

The competition sets quite high standards! Not only do the projects have to be scientifically solid, but also well integrated in the societal needs. Stakeholders must be involved in the developmental cycle, so that the overall project evolves with the help of people affected by the problem, or people working with the solution. Additionally, each team works to increase its own visibility and engagement with the public. Social media platforms and blogs such as this one are very useful to familiarize everyone with all the cool stuff everyone is working on and for raising awareness on synthetic biology! Each team should come up with its unique visuals. Think of design, style, fonts, merch and much more! All of the above is incorporated in the biggest final delivery of the iGEM project, which is the web page (the “wiki” in iGEM jargon). On the wiki, the team presents a written overview of all that is done over the course of the project. The wikis are published towards the end of the competition (and are a means for the judges to assess the team’s performances) around October. The final award ceremony is usually held at the beginning of November at the end of the iGEM Jamboree. This is the occasion in which teams get together (in real life or virtually) and present their work one another (via posters) and to the jury (with the final 20 minute presentation).

Due to all the different tasks that need to be finished, and the different interests within Cattlelyst, we have 4 subgroups within the team: Human Practices (talking to stakeholders and engaging with the public), Design, Wiki and Funding. In these subgroups, everyone can learn all there is to know about these specific aspects of the competition, fitting everyone's needs and interests.

Of course, iGEM is not only about competition. At the core of iGEM lie values such as, respect, honesty, connection and community. Teams are encouraged to collaborate in some way, for instance by organizing meetups with other teams, sharing knowledge within and outside of the scientific community, and validating parts of each other's projects. So, iGEM is about building a community and it is highly appreciated when sincere efforts are made by teams to connect socially.

With this blog we would like to contribute to building a community of people curious about how synthetic biology can be put at the service of the environment.

We hope that this helped to give you an idea of what we will be doing for the upcoming months and triggered your curiosity! If you are interested in iGEM and in our project or would like to exchange ideas, contact us at!

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