Team: UIUC Illinos/Safety/Forms


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1. Please describe the chassis organism(s) you will be using for this project. If you will be using more than one chassis organism, provide information on each of them:
All organism risk group links can be found here

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2. Highest Risk Group Listed: 1

3. List and describe all new or modified coding regions you will be using in your project. (If you use parts from the 2013 iGEM Distribution without modifying them, you do not need to list those parts.)

4. Do the biological materials used in your lab work pose any of the following risks? Please describe.
a. Risks to the safety and health of team members or others working in the lab?
Each of the bacterial strains are BSL1 so there is little chance any of them will cause harm to team members and other workers in the lab. We have appropriate spill kits within the lab to decontaminate the area immediately if an accident occurs while working with the bacteria.
b. Risks to the safety and health of the general public, if released by design or by accident?
Each of the bacterial strains are BSL1 so there is little chance any of them will cause human or animal disease if released to the general public. Our bacteria are also very dependent on a high concentration of salts, so they will die if left exposed to a non-regulated environment such as the open air.
c. Risks to the environment, if released by design or by accident?
Our bacteria are not designed to live in an open environment. Because they are so dependent on a high concentration of salts, they will die in any non-regulated setting. Therefore, there is no risk to the environment if any one of our bacteria was to be released.
d. Risks to security through malicious misuse by individuals, groups, or countries?
The bacteria we are using have little chance of causing human or animal disease or harming the environment if released maliciously. The bacteria will also die without the proper salt concentration and only work to decompose limited amounts of L-carnitine and choline.

5. If your project moved from a small-scale lab study to become widely used as a commercial/industrial product, what new risks might arise? (Consider the different categories of risks that are listed in parts a-d of the previous question.) Also, what risks might arise if the knowledge you generate or the methods you develop became widely available? (Note: This is meant to be a somewhat open-ended discussion question.)
The long-term goal of our project is for it to be distributed as a commercial project. The risks associated with large-scale distribution are the same as when working in a small-scale lab because our bacteria are engineered to only live in a specific environment, without which it will die. Overconsumption of our bacteria will lead to a “food” shortage and kill all of the bacteria. If the bacteria is left in the open air, it will die.
If our methods become widely available, there is a risk of someone trying to recreate our project, or improve it, and making a mistake that allows the bacteria to survive in more common environments. We would highly suggest only trained lab personnel work with bacteria and to have a very clear experiment plan before starting. A kill switch or some other mechanism should be used to prevent the bacteria from causing harm to other lab workers, the general public, or the environment if the bacteria was somehow released via accident or other means.

6. Does your project include any design features to address safety risks? (For example: kill switches, auxotrophic chassis, etc.) Note that including such features is not mandatory to participate in iGEM, but many groups choose to include them.
Our bacteria have been engineered to only survive in the gut with a large salt concentration. Without the proper salt concentration, the bacteria will cease growing and die.

7. What safety training have you received (or plan to receive in the future)? Provide a brief description, and a link to your institution’s safety training requirements, if available.
The Division of Research Safety requires all of our team members to do an online training session and become certified in “General Lab Safety” and “Understanding Biosafety”. We also attended “lab bootcamp” sponsored by our advisors to get experience working with the lab equipment and practicing proper safety technique. Click here" to go to the Division of Research Safety website.

8. Under what biosafety provisions will / do you work?
a. Please provide a link to your institution biosafety guidelines.
Please see here and here.
b. Does your institution have an Institutional Biosafety Committee, or an equivalent group? If yes, have you discussed your project with them? Describe any concerns they raised with your project, and any changes you made to your project plan.
Due to the low-risk nature of our project, we were only required to complete training under the Department of Research Safety. We also completed additional training for the proper disposal of ethidium bromide, the only severely hazardous material used in the development of our project.
c. Does your country have national biosafety regulations or guidelines? If so, please provide a link to these regulations or guidelines if possible.
Yes! Here!
d. According to the WHO Biosafety Manual, what is the BioSafety Level rating of your lab? (Check the summary table on page 3, and the fuller description that starts on page 9.) If your lab does not fit neatly into category 1, 2, 3, or 4, please describe its safety features [see for help].
e. What is the Risk Group of your chassis organism(s), as you stated in question 1? If it does not match the BSL rating of your laboratory, please explain what additional safety measures you are taking.