Revision as of 15:32, 27 October 2010 by Thorondor (Talk | contribs)


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

    No. As a gene composer software, Bach targets at synchronizing and optimizing coding sequence of biobricks by different methods of optimization. The mathematical model construction process is independent and which is also alienated from the wet lab research. As our approach of sequence alteration doesn't change the amino acid sequence at all, the protein produced would be exactly the same only with different translation rate theoretically. Thus, the adoption of our software in wet lab research is highly unlikely to cause any safety issues. Additionally, all our wet lab research and experiments are carefully complying with biosafety regulation in Zhejiang University.

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

    No. BioBrick constructed by iGEM 2010 ZJU-China team would not raise any safety issues. The BioBricks we used and made in the research process only encode non-hazardous genes.

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

    Yes. Our project is supported by College of Life Science, Zhejiang University. Hence the project is also under their regulation. During the project making process, College of Life Science reminds and promotes the ZJU-China team to put the safety issues of the highest priority. Concerned with the safety issue, ZJU-China team has also invited several professors and research assistants to regulate the wet lab experiment process, evaluating project proposal in terms of safety.

4. 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?

    Standardization has been proved essential in assembling versatile biobricks and constructing novel biomachines. However, to step further, we believe that a universal standard based on xeno-nucleic acid will improve the safety of bioengineering by alienating the wild and synthetic species. Thus, our project of the gene composer is only an initiative step towards this goal. Based on the learning of existing organisms' sequences, gene composer's ability of recomposing is still limited. As Philippe Marliere once put it, the confrontational need to oppose dogmas and consecrated knowledge in order to achieve momentous discoveries did not always originate from improved hypotheses about the natural world. Xenobiotics could be a precious resource to discover and research, and hence it's also a valuable workspace for future gene composers to learn and test. The universal standard in synthetic biology will then be set up to protect natural habitats and human health.