Team:CIDEB-UANL Mexico/safety questions


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iGEM CIDEB 2014 - Project

Safety Questions

1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:

● researcher safety,

● public safety, or

● environmental safety

IGEM CIDEB 2014’s Project does not raise any safety issues in either researcher, public or environmental safety. The chassis used is Escherichia coli K12 DH5α, which belongs to the Risk Group 1, meaning that the organism is unlikely to cause human or animal disease. According to the WHO, “E. coli K12 is a non-pathogenic strain that cannot permanently colonize the gut of healthy humans or animals.”

The following table shows the main parts used in the project, as well as safety related information:


Used in

Organism from which is derived

Risk group level


Capture module

Bacillus Firmus OF4

1, according to German TRBA (Technical Rules for Biological Agents).

BSMT1 Opt.

Aroma module

Petunia x hybrida

It can’t be classified in a risk group since it comes from a plant, however, it is only used to produce a fresh aroma and it can be used in a Level 1 laboratory


Resistance module

Deinococcus radiodurans

1, according to German TRBA.

L2 and AIDA

Union module

Escherichia coli

1, according to WHO

If the project goes according to plan neither team members, publics or environment could or would be harmed, since the project acts in water and the bacteria used would not survive normal environmental conditions.

The most dangerous substances used while working in the laboratory were the following (You can see further information by clicking on their names, and see more substances used and their respective information in the risk analysis section in this wiki):

Ethidium bromide


Acetic acid

Methyl salicylate

However, this substances, as well as the laboratory equipment and the biological parts, were used with extreme caution and following the safety guidelines for each one.

The whole team received a training laboratory workshop given by our instructors and advisors before the project started. We learned the different laboratory protocols needed for the project and safety measurements for working on it. Besides, all members were given a laboratory manual including all the protocols that could be used.

If the project does not go according to plan and organisms or parts were released there would be no real danger either for team members, publics or environment since the chassis would not bear the conditions outside of the laboratory.

2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise 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, most of the parts used in the project were taken from the parts registry, assuring its safety, and the ones that we built all proceed from organisms from risk group 1 levels.

However, any detail related to safety, if existent, was included in the specific page of the part or device submitted.

3. 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?

There is a group in our school that is in charge of the different laboratories and their safety. This group was in frequent contact with the team, ensuring that the safety guidelines were being fulfilled. They approved our project.

The team worked with organisms and parts of BSL 1 in a level 1 laboratory, and safety was respected at all times. The project is in compliance with national regulations and university requirements.

The following is an official national document containing biosafety information:

-Biosafety law of Genetically Modified Organisms

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?

If the E. CARU project succeeded and became widely used it could only be managed by industries or qualified people, for the organism is delicate and the project is regulated by certain aspects, like UV and temperature.

In case something unexpected happen, a safety measurement the team thought of was incrementing the UV needed for activating one of the modules in our project, this would result in the bacteria dying.

Also, most of the devices are activated by regulated promoters, assuring the system would activate only on certain conditions controlled by us.

Future teams could consider similar ideas on mind. Ideas like this are simple and easy to perform in iGEM projects and contribute to the project’s safety as a whole.


● Cámara de Diputados del H. Congreso de la Unión. (2005). Ley de Bioseguridad de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados From

● Committee for Biological Agents; GermanyTechnical Rules for Biological Agents. From:

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