Add a Basic Part

A tutorial on how to add a basic part

Add a Composite Part

A tutorial on how to add a composite part

Assembly Compatibility

Your new part must be BioBrick compatible!


Parts are twins if they have the same sequence

Document Parts

Recommendations on how to document your parts

Make a Contribution

Improve existing parts

Ready to add your part? Go to the Add a Part page.
Have questions on adding a part to the Registry? Send an email to hq (at) igem . org.

The iGEM Registry is a community collection of standard biological parts. A Registry user adds a new part, characterizes and documents it, and then sends a sample to the Registry so others can use it.

As a part gets used by the community, information and experience about it begins to grow beyond its original documentation.

  • Does this part work as stated by the original author
  • How does this part compare to another part of the same type?
  • Can it work in a different chassis?
  • Is there a way this part's function can be optimized?

These questions (and more!) are asked and answered by our community. To make sure that valuable information and characterization is visible to the community and that users are given credit for their contributions, the Registry is introducing the Contribution System.

iGEM HQ is currently developing the Contribution System. In the meantime, you should make contributions to the part's main page.

How to add a Contribution

A contribution is a significant improvement of a part that must be documented on the Registry, and added to the original part's main page. In addition to the main page, you may also (but are not required to) add your contribution to a part's Experience page. See below for examples of different types of contributions and how to properly document a contribution on the Registry.

Contribution Types

contributions to an existing part
contribution type examples documentation submission
  • measured the strength of a promoter against a library of other promoters
  • characterized the output of a part/device in a novel chassis
document your contribution on the original part's page (see below) you do not need to send a sample to the Registry
  • added useful information/parameters/categories that were missing (functionality/best growth conditions/source organism, etc)
  • created a visualization of the part/device (ex: 3D model showing protein structure)
document your contribution on the original part's page (see below) you do not need to send a sample to the Registry
submitting a sequence confirmed sample
  • a sample was not submitted by the part's original author
  • the Registry does not have a sequence confirmed sample in the Repository
document your contribution on the original part's page (see below) yes, send a sample to the Registry
improving/changing the documented sequence
  • the original part has been codon-optimized for a chassis
  • the original part contained an error that has affected its functionality
you've created a new part! add it to the Registry, and in it's documentation, reference the original part. Create a contribution for your new part on the original part page as well. yes, send a sample to the Registry
Note: Please note, the above contributions are examples! If you have a contribution that might not fit into the above classification, contact us at hq (at) igem . org

Contribution Markup

iGEM HQ is currently developing the Contribution System. In the meantime, you can continue to make contributions to the to the original part's main page. In addition to the main page, you may also add your contribution to a part's Experience page.

A contribution will need: (you may copy the formatting below)

  • Group: (your team/lab name, including the year)
  • Author: (the authors of the improvement)
  • Summary: (a 1-3 sentence summary of your improvement)
  • the documentation of your improvement (text, graphs, pictures, tables, etc.)
    • Include sections for purpose, results, methods, etc. (if applicable)
  • Uploads: (links to uploads relevant to your contribution, ex: csv containing your data, sequence files, etc.) Note: All files pertaining to a contribution must be uploaded to the Registry.


As part of the iGEM competition, there may be certain medal/award criteria that call for "improving a part." When you've improved a part, you will document that as a part contribution. Please note, that the above part contributions are examples of just that, part contributions. Just like with medal criteria, this is not a checklist for improving a part, rather it is always up to your team to convey your work and convince the judges through your presentation, poster, and part pages (and submissions), that you meet these criteria.

Judging Form: Improve a part

The gold medal criteria for improving a part requires that a team improve an existing part (a part from a previous year and not in their current part range). Teams should enter their improvement as a contribution on the existing part's main page. When you enter the existing part into your judging form it will say "Not Submitted" if you have not created a submission form and marked it as sent. Please note: teams are not required to submit a sample for this medal criteria, unless their improvement included creating a sequence confirmed sample.

2016 Judging Form Improve Part.png

Improve a part: I've created a new part

Since you cannot enter a part from your part range in this criteria, if your improvement resulted in creating a new part (example: codon optimization, fixing illegal restriction site, etc.) you should:

  • On the existing/older part's main page you should document your improvement as a contribution, and reference/link to your new part.
  • On your new part page you should document how you've improved upon the older part, show your data and documentation comparing the two parts, and reference/link to the older part.
  • On your judging form, add the older part number for the improved part criteria.
    • You should submit a sample of your new part, but you are not obligated to submit a part sample of the original part for this criteria, so it's fine that it says not submitted.
    • When judges view the part page for the old part they will see your contribution and can go to your new part.

Contribution FAQ

Where should I document my contribution?

Your contribution should be documented on the existing part's main page (this is what all Registry users will see first!).

We are creating a minor change to the sequence of an existing part, should we add it as a new part?

Yes. If you are changing, adding, or removing a single base from an existing part, then you are creating a new part. You should add this to the Registry as a new part, and during documentation reference the original part, while also documenting your new part as a contribution on the original part page.

I've made a contribution, will this count as an improvement for the ____ medal/award criteria?

iGEM HQ & the Registry is independent of the competition judging process. All judging is left up to the judges, so we cannot say how a part or part contribution will be considered. Please note that any advice iGEM HQ gives on parts or part contributions, does not ensure fulfillment of medal/awards criteria, nor will it guarantee a medal/award.

We don't know if our work with an existing part counts as a contribution

If your contribution does not fall under the types mentioned, send us an email! We will give you as much insight as we can, but be aware that a final determination will only be made by the judges at the Jamboree.

I've made a contribution, but cannot upload the ____ file type to the Registry?

Send us an email! We'd be happy to answer your question.