Team:UC Chile/Practices/Biosafety


Revision as of 18:41, 7 September 2012 by Maxfelis (Talk | contribs)

Cyanolux & SpiderColi - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, iGEM 2012

  1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:
    • researcher safety,
    • public safety, or
    • environmental safety?
  2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues? If yes,
    • did you document these issues in the Registry?
    • how did you manage to handle the safety issue?
    • How could other teams learn from your experience?
  3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?
  4. Our lab follows the Manual of Biosafety, established by the Superior Counsel of Science and Technological Development, from the National Fund of Scientific and Technological Development of Chile (FONDECYT).

    Click here to download the Manual of Biosafety

    Additionally, the Comitee of Bioethics and Biosafety of the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile has reviewed our work , and determined that the procedures involved in our project follow the bioethical and biosafety standards for research regulations provided by the Chilean Comission on Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT).

    Click here to download our Certificate from the Comitee of Bioethics and Biosafety

  5. Do you have any other ideas how to deal with safety issues that could be useful for future iGEM competitions? How could parts, devices and systems be made even safer through biosafety engineering?
  6. To prevent future problems and to encourage the construction of biosafe standard biological parts, we, UC_Chile team, propose the creation of the section “biosafety analysis” mandatory for all parts before their shipping to the registry. In this way, is assured that each new biobrick or device includes an assessment of the risks and biosafety advantages involved in its physical implementation.

    Alongside the previous, we suggest the characterization of biosafety levels of other team’s constructs, making this practice analogous to the existing standard characterization of bricks. The requirement of this biosafety assessment for a team to win the gold medal would be a strong incentive.

    Regarding to the molecular methods by which biosafety could be improved; we believe that the addition of a “bomb” gene to all iGEM plasmid backbones could be very useful. This gene would kill the recombinant cells unless its action is inhibited by a molecule present in the lab culture media but with an insignificant concentration in the environment. (1)

    The best candidate we found is the phiX1714 phage lysis gene E. When placed under a constitutive promoter, this gene inhibits peptidoglycan biosynthesis and therefore lyses the cells (2). It has been shown that the addition of aprox. 0.2 M MgSO4 to the medium (much less than the amount founded in common water) prevents cell death by the gene E (and lysis in general) even when its expression has already been induced (3).

    To ensure cell lysis efficiency the optimized mutant gene mE, which produces lysis in 99,999% of cells (4), should be used.


    (1) Leduc M, Kasra R, van Heijenoort J. Induction and control of the autolytic system of Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol. 1982 Oct;152(1):26-34. PMID: 6181050 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    (2) Young KD, Young R. Lytic action of cloned phi X174 gene E.J Virol. 1982 Dec;44(3):993-1002. PMID: 6294347 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    (3) Gschwender HH, Hofschneider PH. Lysis inhibition of phi-X174-, M12-, and Q-beta-infected Escherichia coli bacteria by magnesium ions. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1969 Oct 22;190(2):454-9.

    (4) Yu SY, Peng W, Si W, Yin L, Liu SG, Liu HF, Zhao HL, Wang CL, Chang YH, Lin YZ. Enhancement of bacteriolysis of shuffled phage PhiX174 gene E. Virol J. 2011 May 6;8:206.

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