Team SafetyDue to the nature of our software team, there is relatively little hazard to evaluate in our day to day activities. We are programming tools to be incorporated into iGEM workflows and manipulating genetic sequence data to derive results - as such almost no time is spent in the wetlab by us software team students.
Deinococcus Library PreparationAs part of our project we have coordinated the receipt and library preparation of several experimental Deinococcus strains of bacteria. These strains were cultured by the Daly group at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, pelleted and sent to us. These strains grow very slowly and at temperatures warmer than the human body, so pathogenicity is not a major concern when working with these species. Regardless, DNA was extracted from them inside a biosafety flow hood with a face pressure of over 100 ft / min. The DNA was than taken though Illumina's TruSeq Library Preparation protocol which is used by many researchers and is generally regarded as safe.
iGEM Safety Questions
1. Would any of our software project ideas raise safety issues of any kind?No, none of our software projects raise research, public, or environmental safety issues other than those already mentioned.
2. Do any of the BioBricks or devices we've made raise safety issues?No, none of the scripts we've developed raise safety issues (though they will enable future cloning projects..)
3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at our institution?We have departmental approval for our safety policies, and IRB approval is not needed since we don't have human subjects.
4. Do we have any other ideas to deal with safety issues that could be useful for future iGEM competitions?As a software track team of 2011 iGEM competition it's our goal to design good open source tools that would allow everyone to engineer and understand biology more efficiently. We believe that by making good software tools and data sets available to the broader spectrum of people we can promote standardized practices and open communities to foster safer and more positive synthetic biology. And owing to the engineering and data driven nature of the field of synthetic biology itself we believe that it is crucial to push for open standards tools and data to ensure its safe practices in the future.
We studied genes responsible for radiation resistance in Deinococcus and E. coli using whole genome analysis to compare frequencies of certain D.rad-related genes in experimental genomes.
The only way for the new field like synthetic biology to grow is to make it easier for new entrants. We contribute to the field by developing tools that ease biobrick project design and allow iGEMers to take to the wetlab more quickly.