At the beginning we formed a group of team members who concentrated on doing human practice and safety issues. We contacted different experts such as Joachim Boldt, Deputy Head at the Department of History and Ethics of Medicine and in terms of safety and environment the Stabsstelle Sicherheit (deputy of safety), which gave us kindly advices for our human practice plans and safety aspects. These meetings and contacts were extremely helpful to ensure that our plans were reasonable and enhanced the implementation of our project. To have an impression of our public outreach, please visit our Human Practice or Ethical Discourse page.

Biosafety & Biosecurity

Concerning biosafety and biosecurity, DNA constructs used in this work as well as the genetically modified cells are thought for laboratory work. They should not be able to harm any organism. Even if our DNA constructs are taken up by organisms there is no risk to the environment as the constructs do not transfer any pathogenicity factors or biological fitness advantages. It is a tool for scientific research and it shouldn't be possible to use our system for malicious purposes. Our main protein, dCas9 and its related RNAs, are originating from a pathogen (Streptococcus pyogenes). This bacterium is classified, according to German regulations, to be safety level 2. As we are only dealing with a protein and RNAs, which are not described as a part of any pathogenic or toxic factor of this bacterium, they can be considered as harmless. This is in accordance to German regulations for biotechnology and the German safety regulations. An up-scale of this system would not raise any additional dangers and could be performed under S1 conditions as our small-scale approaches. This is also in accordance to German safety regulations.