Safety, Security, Ethics (Silver)


Are there any risks to the safety and health of team members or others working in the lab, or the general public, if released by design or by accident?
No. Our biological materials do not harm to people because we use only K-12 strain and B-strain. The genes we introduced were not considered as harmful in general. At the same time, we followed plural biosafety guidelines and also we were checked about safety by a faculty advisor. (If you need to know more detail, please refer to Q5 and Q6.)
Are there any risks to the environment, if released by design or by accident?
What we are able to think of as a risk is only that E.coli which has resistances against chloramphenicol, ampicillin or kanamycin might increase in the environment. But we killed transformed E.coli completely by autoclave and tried never releasing it to the environment.
If our project moved from a small-scale lab study to become widely used as a commercial/industrial product, what new risks might arise?
The E.coli that were introduced fhl366 and small RNA( anti-hycA) has more risk than Wild-Type E.coli because it will produce more H2, a flammable gas, than Wild-Type (depending on the environment). However, the speed of H2 synthesis should not be high, so we think culturing them in LB for short periods of time does not raise a safety issue.
What safety training have we received?
Our team members took a safety tutorial about experiments for genetic transformation which was offered by the University of Tokyo.
What is the Risk Group of your chassis organisms?
Did we follow any biosafety guidelines?
Yes, we followed the institution biosafety guidelines( and the national biosafety guidelines ( .
Did we have discussion with Institutional Biosafety Committee?
Yes, we explained about our projects to the professor who belongs to Biosafety Committee of our campus. We asked a member of the committee and he did not raise any concern with our project.


Are there any risks to security through malicious misuse by individuals, groups, or countries?
We do not think so. In multicellular analogue clock project, we tried to realize the system which generates one directional movement of gene expression, but we could not think of the way to use this system for any weapon or something like that. In RNA silencing project, we tried metabolic engineering of E.coli by small RNAs, but we also could not think of the way to use this system for the wrong purpose.


Our projects are Multicellular Analogue Clock and RNA silencing. In clock project, we constructed devices that realize clockwise movements, and we do not think it raises any ethical problem. In RNA silencing project, even though we did metabolic engineering, E.coli is commonly used for life science study and targeted by such experiments, and therefore we believe this project also do not have any ethical problem.