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We propose using synthetic microorganisms to help mankind in the creation of habitable worlds by means of terraforming other planets. We deal with the ethical issues our project raises in a report that review the opinion of several experts about the environmental ethics of such a process (see ETHICS OF TERRAFORMING).

However our project does not raise safety issues in terms of researcher safety, public safety or earth environmental safety. Any of the new BioBrick parts that we have made this year (see SUBMITTED PARTS) raise any safety issue.

The prion that we have used in our project is extremely unlikely being pathogenic in humans and any case it has been registered in scientific literature. In fact, the infection of one organism with prions generated in another species frequently results in any disease. This effect received the name of “species barrier” and it has been clearly demonstrated that is closely related to the differences in prion protein sequence between donor and acceptor organisms. In some cases these differences are only in a few amino acids (Wickner et al., 2008). Specially, in the prion that we use in our project it has been observed the existence of a barrier to its transmission between S. cerevisae and C. albicans (Chien et al., 2004). The transmission of that prion arise from the formation of amyloid fibrils of the protein Sup35. The NH2-terminus prion-forming domain (PrD) of that protein from both species has a high N/Q content, associated with amyloid growth in several fungal yeasts (Wickner et al., 2008), but is extremely difficult for Sup35 amyloid of one species to initiate the conformational change in the other. Therefore we can say that the transmission of the prion from the yeast to humans, a species considerably much less related, is absolutely impossible. So the human health is not in danger by our project.

Please use this page to answer the safety questions posed on the safety page.