Researcher safetyAs with any scientific project, ours will require precautions to ensure the safety of researchers. These include the use of gloves and labcoats to protect from chemicals which are irritant (including luciferin) and the use of masks when using powdered media. Materials safety datasheets and COSSH forms will be used to assess risk.
There is very little risk to public safety from our project. We are using non-pathogenic lab strains of E. coli which have lost their ability to compete in the intestine. The recombinant DNA we are creating emits light, it is difficult to see how this could ever engender pathogenicity even after horizontal transfer to other organisms. Nevertheless our project must be properly contained. Control measures to ensure this include keeping the windows of the laboratory closed and autoclaving all waste.
We are using lab strains of E. coli which do not thrive outside the lab, we are not conferring any additional fitness advantages on our bacteria apart from antibiotic resistance which is a common feature of lab work. Our project does not pose a risk to environmental safety. But containment remains essential
Do our BioBricks raise safety issues?
No, our parts do not pose any risk to public or environmental safety.
Biosafety at Cambridge
One of our advisors, Dr. Ajioka, is the biosafety officer for the Department of Pathology. We were able to discuss the safety of our work with him at every stage of the project. We also ensured we complied with the UK's biosafety regulations, taking advice from Dr. Ajioka.