We clearly understand that experiment safety is extremely important. Therefore, in our investigation and experiments, we always put safety in the first place. Compared with the outcome of our experiments, safety is thought more significant. So, we not only care about how is our project going but also care about safety throughout our research. And we divide this article into three parts to make a sketchy description of our experiment safety.
II Lab Safety
According to the World Health Organization Laboratory Biosafety Manual (Third Edition), our laboratory is classified as biosafety level 1, which means it has no or low individual and community risk, and microorganism inside is unlikely to cause human or animal disease.
When some of our members work in the laboratory, they are required to wear protective laboratory clothes, closed-toed footwear and masks, and those who are not licensed cannot enter the laboratory working area. In addition, in the time we work, gloves should be worn at all the time, and used gloves should be disinfected before throwing into the specific lab-use trash can. Eating or drinking any stuff in the laboratory is strictly forbidden.
Our team members have already been trained for safety and do researches safely in the laboratory before we start our work. In the safety training, our teacher emphasized the safety importance with students and expounded the aftermath of working with no regard to safety. Therefore, all of us understand the significance of working properly and the consequence of working incorrectly.
Our primary PI, Changyuan Deng is responsible for the safety of biology lab. The guidelines for laboratory biosafety is that we should all follow the rule stated in the Laboratory Biosafety Manual strictly. This manual indicates all the basic methods of operation, which also provides great examples and instruction.
III Environmental Safety
In order to make sure we are doing everything safe, we also care about environmental safety. All used items should be checked to see if they can pour directly into the sink so that we deal with them correctly. For used bacteria, we use high-temperature sterilization to sterilize them before throwing away. For chairs and desks, we use ultraviolet light to disinfect them. Since no high-risk bacterium or microorganism is used in our laboratory, our laboratory doesn’t affect environment harmfully.
IV Animal Use Safety
Our project is about insects, and we are clear that alive animals including insects are not allowed to be used in our experiment. We contacted with the Safety Committee of iGEM to make sure that our experiment was designed in a proper way: the shell of the scale insect would be taken from dead insect to be used in our experiment.
After discussing with our Secondary PI Mr. Chen, we chose to only use its shell instead of the alive insect to avoid this problem. The Safety Committee of the iGEM competition also gave us permit on using the insect's shell instead of the real insect. We knew that using alive insect would not only have the risk of polluting the lab environment but also bring avoidable pains to the small animals. We sincerely appreciate the iGEM Safety Committee for giving us instructions to use the shell of the insect. Doing this, we not only follow the safety rules in iGEM but also got a better result that could serve as a better prove to our project.
V Mistake & Improvement
Reviewing our experiment progress, we find that we still have a lot to improve. Our centrifuges cannot totally make sure that there is no liquid flying out and our refrigerator breaks down sometimes. Therefore, it is important for us to replace the old refrigerator and centrifuges. We also don’t have the emergency plan for fire, so we have to develop a detailed plan to avoid emergency.
- WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual (Third Edition), World Health Organization, 2004. (http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/biosafety/WHO_CDS_CSR_LYO_2004_11/en/)