Use this page to answer the questions on the safety page.

Before answering these questions on your team Safety page, be sure to read the Safety in iGEM page.

Key questions

For iGEM 2012, teams are asked to detail how they approached any issues of biological safety associated with their projects. Specifically, teams should consider the following questions:

  1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:
    • researcher safety: all members of the iGEM team went through EHS, Biosafety, and lab-specific safety training.
    • public safety: implementing our tools in a membrane bioreactor for municipal water treatment could cause safety concerns, if horizontal gene transfer enhances pathogenicity of environmental organisms (their ability to form biofilms, protect themselves from environmental assault, resist immune attack). these issues require more careful tuning in terms of developing parts that provide limited opportunity for transfer.
    • environmental safety: similar as issues for public safety - keeping transgenic organisms in an isolated environment is crucial for further development and safety testing.
  2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues? If yes,
    • none of the parts are directly associated with safety issues, as the parts used are involved in adhesion to surfaces and binding of inorganic silica (or titania salts). neither of these components has pathogenic or harmful potential in isolation.
  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? Our institutional review board and radiological and environmental management (REM) has approved our protocols for working with transgenic organisms and did not bring up any particular concerns.
  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?
    • Parts, devices, and systems could be made even safer if we designed a novel cell with the chirality of every one of its components reversed. It would be basically capable of doing all of the things that a normal cell could do, except as if it were in a mirror universe. It would be resistant to pathogens, it couldn't produce anything that would harm humans (at least, not "intentionally" in the sense that it wouldn't have evolved to do so), and it could give us a substrate for constructing completely orthogonal lifeforms.


Teams, please document any answers to these safety questions on your wiki safety page. Judges will be asked to evaluate your project, in part, on the basis of if and how you considered and addressed issues of biological safety. If any questions arise regarding iGEM and biological safety please send an email to safety AT