Team:Missouri Miners/Safety



There are many concerns in synthetic biology regarding biosafety. Biosafety can be defined as “safety to the respect of biological research on humans and the environment” (Merriam-Webster).

We are a bio safety level 1 lab.

Three main biosafety risks have been outlined by Arjun Bhutkar. The first is the risk of negative environmental impact. Second is the risk of natural genome pool contamination and third is the run-off risk. Run-off risk describes the possibility of genetically altered organisms replicating or evolving.

Researchers and labs participating in synthetic biology take precautions to prevent these risks from occurring so our world will continue to be a safe place. Labs are rated with different biosafety levels to assess the amount of risk associated with the research and to define the necessary precautions to prevent encountered risk. Our Missouri S&T iGEM lab is rated biosafety level 1. This means that our lab is suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans. It also has a minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment (Biosafety, 2010).

To ensure that our iGEM lab does not pose a threat on humans or the environment we perform our research in a controlled and sterile setting. We use sterile technique to avoid introducing genetically modified organisms into the environment. All used media and supplies are sterilized with bleach and autoclaved. All of the members who research in the lab are educated in safety protocol and made aware of the risks associated with our research. We make every attempt possible to reduce the risks associated with synthetic biology.


Bhutkar, A. (2005). Synthetic Biology: Navigating the Challenges Ahead. The Journal of Biolaw & Business. 8(2) 19-28
Merriam-Webster. Encyclopedia Britanica, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2010. < dictionary/biosafety>.
"Biosafety." Center for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.