General Laboratory Safety

-What measures does school take to guarantee the safety in laboratories?


- School has its own biosafety rules that are regulated by the Ministry of Environment Protection, P. R. China and our institution. And each laboratory safety standards are implemented strictly.

- Students are required to participate in the chemical experimental courses of safety and environmental protection. Students learn atrategies that can deal with unexpected incidents. Final exam is School requires each student to participate in the chemical experimental courses of safety and environmental protection. In the courses, teachers introduce students the matters needing attention and strategies in dealing with the unexpected incidents through various case. Eventually each have to take the course exam, only to meet the requirements of students before they can enter the lab and experimentize.

- All laboratories are equipped with safety experimental equipments and relevant person in charge.



- What special measures do you take to guarantee the safety of experimenters in view of the experiments related to iGEM?


- Every member of the team has to take the experimental test, which iGEM tutors and postgraduate assigned the topic. Only the one who pass the exam will be allowed to enter the laboratory and start experiments. And there will be a graduate student give us a demonstration and help new players to correct the mistakes in the experiment.

- Each member shall formulate detailed experimental plan before the experiment, and get familiar with the experimental process, master the characteristics of reagents before the experiment. During the experiment, all the players need take fully protective measures, including wearing experimental suits, goggles, gloves and masks.


Project Safety

- Whether you use the reagents with potential hazard?


- Strains used in the experiments are E. coli (k) which is non-pathogenic bacteria.

- This year we improve the nucleic acid gel stain in the experiment, replacing the EB (ethidium bromide) with SYBR Green I. Although SYBR Green I has potential hazard, the carcinogenicity is less than EB.



- Did the experiments pollute the environment?

- To avoid this potential biological pollution to environment, we gathered all culture fluid and culture medium with bacteria and we processed them together to ensure that none of them leaked from our laboratory through sewer and dustbin.

- We handled all the biological materials, wastes and equipment strictly following the BSL-1 requirements. All these things that have physically contacted with biological samples were bleached by autoclave before being discarded or reused.


- What measures do you take to guarantee the strains won’t leak in the project?


- We designed a black hole system which can kill the bacteria with hyperosmotic pressure. In the gene circuit, the higher osmolality results in stronger expression strength of Pomp. Then the moving tendency of reprogrammed CL-1 will orient to the hyperosmotic pressure spot. When the bacteria move into where the osmotic pressure reaches to the critical value, the bacteria will suicide finally. The sources to create hyperosmotic pressure are cheap, accessible, environmentally friendly.




When a freshman comes to our College of Chemisty and Chemical Engineering in Xiamen University, , there is a story about "C3H3" for them, which was advocated by Prof. Jiaxi Lu, a famous Chinese quantum chemist. "C3H3" consists of three phrases, Clear Head, Clever Hand and Clean Habit. We think it is very useful when we do synthetic biological experiments, let alone talking about safety in genetic engineering.


Firstly, before doing a genetic engineering experiment, you should keep your head clear. Concretely speaking, you need to find out the safety level of biological materials used in your experiment, including microorganisms, reagents and your constructed gene circuits. Keep every tiny experimental detail in your mind. This can help you avoid many potential safety hazards in your experiment.


In addition, to make your hands clever means to perform a experiment skillfully. For example, when making a gel for SDS-PAGE, it is necessary to use acrylamide, which has strong carcinogenicity. So you have to pay much attention when mixing it and pouring the mixture into a mold to agglomerate.


Last but not least, a clean habit is totally useful not only in your lab but also in your life. Imaging that, a mass, dirty and disorder lab, maybe some tattered gloves or broken, flasks, which have been contacted with highly toxic reagents are hidden below the experiment rig. Many risks would arise if there's unclean experimental habit. A clean habit is more than a combination of clear head and clever hands. It's a kind of decorous attitude to your experiments and a neat working atmosphere you create by yourself. A clean and good habit can improve your whole life.


So this is our "C3H3". We sincerely hope this proposal can improve safety in synthetic biology and genetic engineering.


Furthermore, we have another reasonable suggestion that every iGEM team should make a data table or survey results about public biosafety or laboratory safety and security of the projects. Every team can submit a survey report attached with questionnaire and analyzing data to the iGEM safety committee. More details are to be discussed.