iGEM Safety Questionnaire

As a safety precaution, all iGEM team members have been fully trained in WHIMIS as well as in introductory Biosfatey.

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

No, not directly. The goal of our project is to create a tool that can help solve protein expression problems in future projects both within the context of the iGEM competiion and beyond. For this reason, our project only really poses safety issues if it was to be used to aid in the expression of toxic or otherwise dangerous proteins. Part of our ethical analysis included a discussion of some of the specific ethical, social and economic issues raised by our project. Check out our ethics page for more information.

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

No, none of the parts that we made alone raise any safety issues. Again, our project only has the possibility of posing safety issues in regards to the final product the user of our tool kit is trying to produce.

Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?

Yes, we have an office of medical bioethics at our Univeristy. Our project has never come up with this office. Due to the fact that we are using non-pathogenic bacteria and that our project poses no direct safety issues to researchers the public or the environment, they have no concerns with our project at present.

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?

One of the major safety issues with the Registry of Standard Biological parts is that it is open source. Sequences are readily available to anyone that wishes to access hem. Although this is a very helpful resource, it also has the potential to cause harm if the sequences are for toxic or dangerous gene products. idea that our team thought of was to start reviewing sequences that are submitted the registry, and comparing them to a database of pathogenic sequences to ensure that it is not used for the distribution of any harmful sequences. This would be similar to the process that gene synthesis companies who are members of the IGSC use to ensure they don't make any pathogenic or otherwise dangerous sequences.