Team:Hong Kong-CUHK/Project biosafety





DefinitionAccording to the WHO biosafety is the prevention of unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins, or their accidental release, whereas biosecurity is the prevention of loss, theft, misuse, diversion or intentional release of pathogens and toxins


Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues?

Our project ideas would not raise any safety issue.

In our project, we used a non-virulent strain-DH5α of competent E.coli.

According to CDC Standard Microbiological Practices for BL1 and BL2, in order to work with E.coli (biosafety level 2)

1 Our students attended a three-hour laboratory safety talk before commencement of lab work

2 We are supervised by three professors and three instructors.

3 The iGEM lab work is carried out in a cytotoxic research laboratory and access to the lab is limited.

Other CDC guidelines are also straightly followed.

Moreover, our cultures, stocks and other regulated wastes are decontaminated before disposal by autoclaving. In case the wastes are disposed of or leaked to the public environment accidentally, it will not cause any infections to human or other organisms as the E.coli strain we used is non-virulent and therefore no toxic product will be generated.


Do any of the new BioBrick parts that you made raise any safety issues?

Our new biobrick parts mainly consist of the rci gene and "message" part. Firstly, the "message" part is created by our software, so basically the sequence is of no significance in coding for any kinds of protein. It can only function when it is decoded by our own software, therefore it does not raise any safety issues when it exists as an independent part. The second new part in our project is the rci gene which is the main functional component of our shufflon encryption system. However, the gene itself is not infectious and does not have pathogenic nature or anti-drug ability. Therefore, it does not raise any safety issues.


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


The Chinese University of Hong Kong have a group a people working specifically on giving out guidelines to all the faculties for safety issues, for instance, laboratory safety, public safety, etc. Special guidelines are given to us for careful handling of the microorganisms in the laboratory.