BioMORTAR, unlike many other synthetic biology projects, does not deal directly with live cells. However, BioMORTAR designs plasmids for cells that are to be created, and therefore must consider similar safety procedures as other lab-based groups. Simlar to physical labs, BioMORTAR must be able to ensure that the cells created can be controlled for the safety of the environment and community. Also, they must be able to keep away those who are using synthetic biology for malicious purposes in order to ensure safety of the public and because the use of synthetic biology could potentially be used for violence in the future.
In order to make sure that cells do not grow out of control, the COBRA based modeling tool will project the growth of the designed bacteria. The modeling part of BioMORTAR will be able to give the user a graph representing growth rates over time. This would allow the user to compare the growth of the designed bacteria with growth of other bacteria in the environment to determine how it will interact with the other factors in the environment. Cell modeling in BioMORTAR will hopefully help promote the safe use of synthetic biology in more complex or natural environments.
Like cellular biology labs, BioMORTAR needs to have a way to keep people with malicious intentions away from this tool, especially if it is intended to expedite the creation of novel bacteria. In order to deter those wishing to create the next superbacteria, the next version of BioMORTAR will be able to log every plasmid created and match them to their registered account or ip address on the computer. This will allow us to show records of certain member's activity in case authorities needed to find the one who created a bug that was designed by BioMORTAR.
Since there are many potential risks involved with synthetic biology, it is very important for BioMORTAR to promote the use of safety precautions by those using the software to design novel bacteria.