Team:Costa Rica-TEC-UNA/Safety


1.Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of: researcher safety, public safety, or environmental safety?

No, our project doesn't raise any safety issue in terms of public or enviromental safety. In terms of researcher safety, there is a low individual risk, because our team is using parts that come from Pseudomona cepacia and Acinetobacter sp. both from risk group 2, as well as other parts from the B. subtilis and Rhodococcus rhodochrous from risk group 1 and parts from bacteriophages. Our team is also using Rhodococcus opacus and Escherichia coli, from risk group 1.

2.Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues?

No, they don't.

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?

Costa Rican Laboratories are regulated by the Ministry of Health and Universities. They both make no difference in normal microorganism and GM microorganism since they are contained used, which is why Regulations such as Cartagena Protocol do not apply. Environmental Regulations are still not in place, but once in place they will ask for a registry at CONAGEBio, an environmental office for biodiversity. Customs ask for a letter from Ministry of Health in order to release the GM microorganism. The Universities need to explain to the Ministry of Health the used of the GM microorganism.

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?

First of all, knowing the microorganism you're working with is essential, so it is important to inform yourselves if that MO has been used before on field work, so that we can have some references of it's behaviour. Some times, if there's no documentation on the microorganism you'll be working with, doing a preliminary risk assessment would be incredibly useful. Also, there should be some containment measures and a restricted area destined to work with constructs and gene insertions. Of course, the small things are important too, so keeping a perfect record of all the work done on the project is a must. That way it would be easier to react in any case it is needed. Contacting your country's biosafety commitee to get a review of your project is a good idea too.