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    Safety Questions
  iGEM Safety Questions


1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:
We have not worked with any materials that raise risk to researchers' safety or health. We only worked with experiments based on commonly used E. coli and baking yeast strains. We performed our experiment mostly in another institute BGI nearby, their lab fulfill the requirement of Lab Biosafety level 2, which enable us to perform bacterial (E.coli) experiment safely.
Sometime our researchers have to face regular bio-safety challenges in a molecular microbiology lab, such as staining DNA agarose gel with EB, each member of our team is careful to use gloves, goggles, and lab coats in order to protect us .There is also a container for us to pour culture fluid and culture medium full of cells in, and thus it will be treated properly afterwards.
Before the real experiment each member of our team took 2 weeks to receive training. Any researchers conducting experiment were instructed about the right method both by printed protocols and in the lab. After the training, we passed an on-line test about the lab safety, standard experiment procedures and lab waste treatment. During any experiments, necessary individual protections such as gloves and white robes were strictly required. Also, the public safety of the lab is guaranteed by the strict registering protocols on the operation of any apparatus. In order to make sure all the requirements of safety were carried out well by the researchers and to get prepared for any emergency, our lab set up 24hr*7 camera system in the rooms.
As we said, what we used are non-pathogenic E. coli strains. We will use the experimental plasmid containing antibiotics. So one of the security risks is that antibiotic resistance gene may be transferred to other pathogenic strains and cause the public danger.
To avoid it happening, we gather all the culture fluid and culture medium with cells for unified treatment and not let cells get out of our lab through anyway.
We take much care of the environmental safety. We make sure no media containing engineered cells go into the sewer before sterilization, and all utensil contacted with the engineered bacteria will be sterilized. Toxic and hazardous chemicals are collected and treated properly according to the safety rules of our lab.

2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise safety issues?
NO. We don’t think that our new devices will raise safety issues. Most of our BioBricks have been used by former iGEM projects and proved to be innocuous too.

3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?
If yes, what does your local biosafety group think about your project?
If no, which specific biosafety rules or guidelines do you have to consider in your country?
Our experiment is designed and carried out following the standards of national biosafety office, therefore no laws or regulations regarding the biosafety issue are violated.
Because our school (Shenzhen Middle School) has only a brand new laboratory which is established in 2011, so far, we do not have a biosafety committee in our institute. We performed our experiment mostly in another institute BGI nearby, their lab fulfill the requirement of Lab Biosafety level 2, which enable us to perform bacterial (E.coli) experiment safely. Many teachers and assistants from biology and chemistry department of our school care our safety and have checked the laboratory we used and the processes we have done. And they think the condition we were working is safe and reliable.

1.Do you have any other ideas how to deal with safety issues that could beuseful for future iGEM competitions? How could parts, devices and systems be made even safer through biosafety engineering?

Yes. We suggest the registry of standard biological parts should have a dedicated safety page of every part to ensure that users would not raise any safety issue when using them. And these data should be presented when we are searching for a certain part and found its instructions. By this act, we can at least prevent the safety issues lurking in the shadows before they could appear.