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Looking for some motivation to finish that bioluminescent fungus project? Well look no further –

io9 wants to encourage mad scientists in every field, but especially in the area of synthetic biology. That’s because synthetic biologists are the people who are going to build new life forms, like ligers and unicorns and people with claws and glowing eyes. OK, they might build bacteria that can clean up oil spills and repair damaged kidneys too. The point is, building new lifeforms is the science of the future and therefore you can never have too many garage laboratories and mad scientists devoted to it. That’s why io9 is sponsoring a contest to find two of the best synthetic life forms you can design for us. The winners in our two categories will get either an all-expenses-paid trip to the kickass Synthetic Biology Conference in Hong Kong this October, or $1000 and a chance to have their creature drawn by a cool comic book artist.

Head over to the site for all the living deets – Mad Science Contest: Build a Lifeform (Thanks, Analee!)