1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:
Researcher safety?:

We see no such risks to our safety and health in the lab. All research with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) is contained in a GMO-class 1 laboratory at the Faculty of Life Sciences, at University of Copenhagen. All processes and methods are carried out only after training and/or under the supervision of an instructor to ensure all safety protocols are maintained. In addition every team member underwent safety and waste disposal training before performing any experiments in the lab. Furthermore, the team will be supervised throughout the project by more experienced research scientist. As E. coli DH5α or E. Cloni and cyanobacteria strain Synechococcus elongatus can be infectious to humans and the rules set by the lab should be followed thoroughly.
Public safety?:
There should not be any risks for the general public as our project is intended to function as a fundamental research project and a idea. It is not the purpose to bring either the E. coli cells or the cyanobacteria strain Synechococcus elongatus out of the GMO class 1 lab. All experiments with our BioBricks and use of GMO’s will occur in a contained laboratory environment, with established biosafety and biosecurity requirements. The plasmids where are constructing contain a resistance gene and it is important that the organisms are kept in the laboratorium.
Environmental safety?:
Environmental safety is ensured as all of our experiments are contained and disposed safely following to both international (WHO) and Danish (Arbejdstilsynet) laws. The strains that we are working with are generally considered safe to work with. No GMO will intentionally be released into the environment during the course of this project. In case of an accidental release of our genetically modified E.coli and cyanobacteria strain, the added antibiotic resistance gene will quickly be lost to natural selection and therefore not be a problem. The plasmids containing luxCDABE could be transferred to other bacterias, but it will not be favorable for the organism to have the plasmid as it then have to use a lot of energy and reduction equivalents. Furthermore all the genes and promotors are naturally occurring in the nature.

2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues?
No. None of the BioBricks we have created raises any specific safety issues. Any safety issues discovered will naturally be fully documented in the Parts Registry.

3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?
Yes, the institution Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen has their own biosafety rules Read more.
There is a biosafety board in our laboratory at the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen (biosafety). All protocols set forth by the biosafety board are being followed by the Copenhagen iGEM Team. The committee is familiar with our project and our presence in the laboratory. The only condition for our lab work is that one of our advisers is at the institute at all times.

4. 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?
The open source idea is a appealing but it is important to prevent misuse. Scientists using the library should be registered. Additionally biobricks should be tested before sending it out the next year. Sequencing results should be analyzed before the biobricks are dispatched to make sure that you get what you ordered and avoid getting other genes than you ordered. We experienced that a luxCDABE (BBa_J32007) cassette biobrick was not the gene present in the 384 microwell plate from iGEM but an E. coli surface protein gene. This could have been another hazardous gene that could have been dangerous to work with.