Question 1: Experimental Safety

Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:

researcher safety, public safety, or environmental safety?

Answer 1

Any possible safety risks were minimized in our project and seriously-considered protocols and safety rules were strictly executed to prevent possible safety issues.

To guarantee the safety of our researchers and lab personnel, we especially emphasized protection while doing experiments related to bacteria, toxic reagents, fire and/or electricity. All researchers were required to maintain a tidy and clean working area to ensure that no harmful chemicals or traces of bacteria/other reagents are left behind after the experiment.

To guarantee public and environmental safety, we placed extra stress on disposing bio-hazardous experimental waste and waste related to bacterial and DNA to prevent undesirable spread of genes or toxicity into the environment. We also forbade the discarding of inappropriately disposed toxic and pollutant reagents to avoid possible safety issues.

Question 2: Biobrick Safety

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

Answer 2

None of the new BioBrick parts we made this year, nor bacteria containing our parts would raise any safety issue according to current professional knowledge.

Question 3: Safety Committee

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?

Answer 3

Yes, there is a biosafety committee at our institution and several academic professors are monitoring our project. They help evaluate biosafety regularly and attend lab meetings to identify any potential safety issues in equipment and experimental design.

Question 4: Suggestions

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?

Answer 4

IGEM could establish a filter system from a known database to prevent utilization of genes that are highly dangerous. Also, iGEM could require each team to submit BioBricks which conjugates a suicide gene to avoid undesirable gene spread. Orthogonal BioBricks are also recommended to prevent functional gene spread.

Each team should be checked to ensure qualification in biosafety when it participates in the iGEM competition. Lectures regarding biosafety are also encouraged in iGEM Jamboree.

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