Team:SYSU-China/Notebook

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Revision as of 14:57, 5 October 2011

Safety-Sun Yat-sen Univ.

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




Actually no.

    From the aspect of the project itself, there is no part in the iGEM 2011 SYSU-China would raise any safety issue in terms of researchers, the public or the environment. The bacteria we are working on are Escherichia coli BL21 and DH5α,the non-virulent mutants of Escherichia coli, which are widely accepted to be non-pathogenic and unlikely to survive in host tissues and cause disease. These are confirmed by R.M. La Ragione and M.J. Woodwad in their paper An investigation into the pathogenic properties of Escherichia coli strains BLR, BL21, DH5a and EQ1 (http://ors.uchc.edu/bio/resources/pdf/3.6.1.A_colipath.pdf). In addition, because of several years' operation of the two kinds of E.coli in the labs and no virulence report against human, we believe that these strains are harmless to researchers, the public, and the environment. From the aspect of our iGEM team members, each one was required to attend a pre-lab training conducted by graduate students and advisors both on experimental skills and safety instructions before he or she actually started the iGEM program in the lab. They trained us how to operate the fundamental experiments, and taught us the basic safety rules in the lab, such as how to use the toxic reagents. During the program, we wear gloves properly and disinfect tubes and plates after use. When our experiments involve the radiation-related operation, it will be carried out by the technician with radiation-usage permission. We also conform strictly to the established safety rules in the lab (http://biosafety.sysu.edu.cn/administer/UploadFiles_9471/200804/2008041817410158.pdf).





    Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues? If yes,
• did you document these issues in the Registry?
• how did you manage to handle the safety issue?
• How could other teams learn from your experience?




    No biobricks made by the SYSU-China team will raise any safety issues. The biobricks, such as recA, recN, cheZ, trkD and ag43, are all the natural parts of E.coli in natural environment, and commonly used for laboratory operation. Their function and functional mechanism are clearly known, and they are not associated with pathogenicity, infectivity, or toxicity, nor will they cause threats to environmental quality. Moreover, cheZ and ag43 are standard biobricks provided by iGEM authority, so the safety of these biobricks can be guaranteed.





    Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?
• If yes, what does your local biosafety group think about your project?
• If no, which specific biosafety rules or guidelines do you have to consider in your country?




    In our university, Biosafety Committee of Sun Yat-Sen University is responsible for monitoring the safety of all researches on the campus. Their regulations are stipulated according to the WHO Laboratory biosafety manual, which is also conformed to by our country (http://biosafety.sysu.edu.cn/Soft/UploadSoft/200804/2008042116071397.pdf).

    Before our team started the program, we have discussed about the safety issues of the whole project. The committee paid great attention on the radiation-related experiments, and emphasized that these experiments must be operated by the professional technician. Furthermore, the committee also requested that all procedures conducted in this project should be performed according to the rules stipulated by WHO. On the whole, they confirmed our project to be safe. With the surveillance of the Biosafety Committee of Sun Yat-sen University and the cautious operation of our members, the project will be of no harm to the researchers, the public or the environment.





    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?




    We suggest that the safety information of any part used in the iGEM competition, especially its functions, should be investigated clearly through literature search before the usage. If any part has any intention to raise safety issues, the iGEM team should refuse to use it and choose other alternatives. Additionally, iGEM teams should submit the safety report with their biobricks part to the iGEM authority, describing the safety issues of the biobricks part, which should also be examined by a professional third party. Thus the high-risk biobricks or parts with potential biosafety problems will be identified and abandoned before submitting. Through this way can the parts, devices and systems be safe. With measures above, the safety of the biobricks submitted can be guaranteed.

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From the 2011 iGEM team SYSU-China (2011)

Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China

Address: 135# Xingang Rd.(W.), Haizhu Guangzhou, P.R.China

visit the Sun Yat-sen university website

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