Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE) in Naturally Competent Bacteria: An Alternative to Cloning

In 2012, Yale iGEM undertook an ongoing project to introduce Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE) into naturally competent bacteria. MAGE is a very powerful genetic engineering technique developed by our advisor, Professor Farren Isaacs. MAGE uses homologous recombination technology to generate incredible amounts of diversity in a bacterial population, acting as a tool for accelerated, directed evolution. However, two of the major limitations of MAGE are 1) It has only been achieved in E. coli and 2) The electroporation step for transformation kills a significant portion of the bacterial population. Yale iGEM attempted to overcome these problems by introducing MAGE into naturally competent bacteria, which can readily take up DNA from their environment. 

Regional Achievements

  • Bronze Medal
  • Best Presentation
  • Qualified for World Championship Jamboree


  • A mathematical model related to this work was published in Nature Protocols:

Rapid editing and evolution of bacterial genomes using libraries of synthetic DNA. Gallagher RR, Li Z, Lewis AO, Isaacs FJNat Protoc. (2014);9(10):2301-16. Access the article here

For more information about the project, please visit our 2012 wiki!