Safety issues


All laboratory work needs to follow safety rules and regulations. We manipulated in a CNRS laboratory on Joseph Aiguier's campus. That's why, we stuck to CNRS guidelines concerning genetically modified organism manipulation. All members of our iGEM team attended a conference on biosafety guidelines in CNRS laboratories.

General introduction

The manipulation of Genetically Moified Organisms is supposed to be strictly supervised and there are specific regulations. Safety issues are separated in several areas: chemicals and hasardous products, risky devices and equipment and bacteriologic risks.

Chemical risks

We used some hazardous products which need to be vigilant.

  • GelRed

    We used GelRed as an intercalating nucleic acid strain for agarose gel electrophoresis. It needed to be manipulated with gloves because of it chemical nature.

  • Diméthylsulfoxyde

    DMSO was used in PCR reactions. It should be manipulated with caution because it can cause contaminants, toxins, and medicines to be absorbed through the skin.

  • Macherey Nagel MiniPrep Kit

    As every kit of plasmid purification, this kit could contain toxic solvents hazardous for humans and the environment. All waste produced using this kit must be correctly treated.

Physical risks

Some devices used during manipulation in laboratory could be risky.

  • UV revelation machine

    To reveal agarose gel and to realize gel extractions, we used an UV revelation machine. UV may cause blindness if no protection masks is worn.

  • Centrifuge

    Used for many protocols, the rotor in centrifuges can be dangerous, it needs to be checked before each use. It may cause death in worst case scenarios or even wreck a building and amenities.

  • -80°C Freezer

    Special warm gloves are required to manipulate what is inside the freezer, can causes freeze burns to the skin.

  • Water bath

    Used in competent cells protocols. One have to be careful to turn it off when manipulation is over for it may cause fire if all water evaporates.

  • Scalpels

    Scalpels were used to slice agarose gels and more generally in of gel extraction protocols. Those who use it have to be careful not to cut themselves, and safely dispose of the blades.

Bacteriological risks

All bacteria used during the project are classified risk group 1 in biosafety guidelines. We worked exclusively with Escherichia coli stains DH5α and W3110 both of which are of the K12 type, and thus not pathogenic to humans. However, there is still a small residual risk of contamination especially of eyes and the respiratory pathway.

As the organisms used are genetically modified, cultures and microbiological waste are autoclaved after use, thus the GMOs cannot get escape from the laboratory environment.