The Free Genes Project

We need your help. Tell us what useful DNA sequences should be developed for an open biotechnology commons and we will make them for you! What's the catch? Materials will be made available for you and others under the OpenMTA so everyone can develop applications that benefit all people and the planet. See what we have already made at

What Happens Next?

We will make these genes for free for you and everyone else. We will also make sure that the genes are readily available and check that they are not covered by sequence-specific patent claims. Stated differently, when we say free we mean both "NO COST" AND "FREEDOM".
It's kind of like having free beer AND freedom of speech. Hooray!

Click here to learn more

How It Works

Sequence Preparation
We will compile your sequences and make any necessary changes to the DNA for compatibility with our high-throughput cloning process.
Cursory Review
Your sequences will be checked for biosecurity, suitability for synthesis, and other features.
Public Comment
Once enough genes have been compiled for an order, we will create a public post where you can see any changes made to your sequences and request modifications.
Public Distribution
After the cloning process is complete, we will again post the sequences publicly and distribute your DNA to you.

What You Can Expect

1. We hold all sequences until there are enough for a batch order from Twist Bioscience.

2. Synthesis via Twist Bioscience now takes ~3-4 weeks to complete, depending on sequence complexity.

3. Once we receive the newly synthesized DNA, it is processed in one of two ways:
    A. If you have requested DNA that can be made into MoClo-compatible parts, we will clone and sequence verify the DNA before shipping clonal plasmid stock to you.
    B. If you have requested DNA that cannot be made MoClo-compatible, we will ship an aliquot of the raw synthesized DNA, keeping other aliquots for any other people interested.

4. The process of cloning and validation takes an additional ~2 weeks.

5. The Free Genes Project is still in beta, so please work with us to make this an efficient and productive community effort.

6. We are synthesizing, cloning, sequencing, and freely distributing 10,000 genes via the project and under the Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA)

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this different from the iGEM registry?
There are two major differences between the Free Genes Project and the iGEM registry: The scope of distribution and the distribution methodology. First, iGEM only distributes once a year to academics and non-profits, while Free Genes distributes continuously to anyone, including academics, non-profits, companies, and even DIYbio hackers. Second, Free Genes is also interested in increasing access to biological tools through alternative distribution methodologies, such as decentralized B. subtilis spore-based distribution sets, which may drastically lower costs in DNA production, distribution, and storage. Rather than being a purely central hub for DNA, we hope that in the future there will be nodes of decentralized distributors throughout the world.
What restriction sites do you add/remove? (MoClo parts only)
We remove all common Type IIS restriction enzyme sites from coding sequences. These include AarI, BsmBI, BbsI, BtgZI, BsaI, BfuAI, and SapI. For other parts, such as promoters and terminators, we strongly recommend removing BsaI, BsmBI, and SapI if possible.
Why do you remove restriction enzyme sites? (MoClo parts only)
In order to scale our cloning methods, we take advantage of GoldenGate assembly standardization, and in particular, the MoClo assembly method. We aim to make standardized open access libraries for every major organism in order to clone new synthetic DNA very quickly for any desired application. By doing this, we drastically lower costs and increase our assembly speed.
What about third party patent rights?
We are currently developing an online tool to enable the community to quickly check DNA sequences for potential third party patent claims. Our goal is to empower the community to design sequences for synthesis that are free of third party rights and that can be widely shared. Stay tuned for developments on this front...
Do you ship internationally?
We would like to support the international community, but will have to manage this on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us at for more information.
What have you finished synthesizing?
We have completed synthesis of codon optimized versions of all the JCVI syn3.0 genes. If you are interested in any of those genes, please contact us at
[et_bloom_inline optin_id="optin_3"]

Get started today

Our Partners