Safety in Project Design
In our project, we transformed E.coli with a dumbbell-like DNA oligonucleotide made by ourselves, which was designed to function as a miR-214 inhibitor The locker has two binding regions where miR-214 can be paired with and therefore the function of which being analyzed. Our project design has taken safety issues into consideration.
- We choose E.coli as chassis organisms to produce our miR-214 locker because they have no characteristic that can cause future damage to human immune system or other inner systems. Once entering human body, they will be easily detected and destructed by our immune system. Neither would they facilitate spread between people and other organisms like animals. Hence, they are strictly harmless for both individuals and the general public.
- All our parts and assembled genes are totally safe for human beings. None of them can act out potential virulence threat.
- No known pathogen was involved in our designed experiments, ensuring the safety of the overall research.
Safety in Laboratory
According to China's regulations (Laboratory Biosafety Requirement-B19489, 2008) and Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 5th edition, our iGEM laboratory belongs to BSL-2 laboratory. Our laboratory has met all the national requirements for BSL-2 safety level, ready to conduct molecular as well as cellular experiments. In addition, we optimized the layout and equipments of our laboratory before experiments were carried out.
- We overhauled the electrical system of the laboratory, replacing the damaged equipments with brand new ones, which are more reliable.
- The doors on the main entrance of the laboratory can be automatically closed, reducing the possibility of contamination caused by mosquitoes and other organisms entering through the door. The opening of doors requires admission to minimize unnecessary access to the laboratory by casual visitors or people not needed.
- In order to regulate laboratory management and ensure the safety of materials, we have installed monitor equipments.
- To alert people, we posted a yellow warning strip before the contaminated area where the electrophoresis experiments can be conducted.
- This year, our project contains experiments on cells, which were conducted in an isolated cell house. Before entering and leaving our cell house, we had to pass through an ultraviolet radiation compartment to avoid contamination.
Safety in Lab Work
- Before we carried out our experiment, each member had carefully read the laboratory code of conduct and relevant laws/regulations in China. The instruction reading, along with the safety precaution lessons given by our captain and instructor at the start of our project, leaves us a thorough understanding of biosafety in lab work, which we followed tightly.
- During our experimental process, we have conducted group discussions regularly to guarantee safe operations.
- Anyone in the lab has been trained for a while about how to conduct experiments in the correct way. We also encouraged everyone in the lab to be the supervisor of others, observing and correcting inappropriate behaviors.
- There are many requirements for our experimental operations...
- For our own safety during the experiments, we must wear gloves, masks, and clothes all the time.
- We must first read the instructions of the facilities and be careful when using them. For example, when making use of centrifugal machines, we must pay great attention to the balance of centrifuge tubes.
- When manipulating chemicals such as DEPC and DMSO, we must carry out all the operations in a fume hood.
- Waste materials must be properly discharged. High-pressure steam sterilizer was used for recycled materials.
- In regard to emergency response and treatment (such as how to deal with fire, leakage and accidental injury), we have formulated corresponding plans in advance.
- After finishing the experiments, we should check the experimental facilities and cut off the power for all but refrigerator before leaving.
- Eating or drinking is strictly forbidden in the laboratory.
Safety in Shipment
As mentioned above, our DNA parts are absolutely safe. The DNA parts are safely dried down within 96 well plates, sealed completely, and covered with a protective lid as what Parts Registry requires.