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

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

  • Materials that pose a safety risk (i.e. cell cultures, ethidium bromide, UV transilluminator, etc) are handled according to standard lab safety protocol and Materials Safety Data Sheets. Materials containing safety hazards are disposed in separate containers with “biohazard” designations. Appropriate protective gear, such as gloves, is worn at all times. Our bacterial chassis, E. coli DH5α, is disabled to where it is nonpathogenic and cannot survive outside of lab conditions. In addition, all exposed counters are disinfected using 70% ethanol after each use of the lab. All lab equipment is thoroughly cleaned and autoclaved after use and access to the lab is limited by cardkey.

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

  • We worked with genes encoding known properties and utilized safety measures to ensure that biohazardous materials including antibiotic-resistant cells are contained within the lab and are appropriately disposed. Therefore, we assess that none of our submitted parts raise safety issues.

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

  • UT Dallas has an Institutional Biosafety Committee that manages all safety responsibilities under NIH “Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules”. Throughout the course of this work, we ensured that all lab activity respected safety measures.

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?

  • The iGEM plasmid backbone could be programmed to include an "inactivation mechanism" whose induction can be used to regulate the activity of cells endowed with BioBrick parts. Disseminating pertinent safety information through the Registry is a practical alternative to engineering biosafety measures into parts, devices and systems.