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Although our project did not use any particularly hazardous materials and both model organisms are classified in the lowest risk group, we took the safety of all our members as a high priority. Before being permitted to enter the lab, all members were required to pass a series of online safety training courses through Vanderbilt's VandySafe system. During a separate safety training meeting, members were informed of the proper way to dispose all used lab materials, procedures to take in the event of an emergency, proper handling of certain potentially hazardous chemicals, and general safe lab equipment use for items like Bunsen burners. We modeled our safety training after suggestions made by Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety (VEHS).

One area of extra concern is that the transformed E. coli strains used have antibiotic resistance genes against both ampicillin and kanamycin. If these organisms were to escape the lab environment, it is conceivable that these resistance genes could undergo lateral gene transfer. The spread of antibiotic resistance in this way is significant to considerations of public health. Aside from the number of lab oratory precautions we had taken in terms of maintaining sterile technique and properly disposing of al l possible biohazards, in the design of our project we noted that homologous recombination into yeast would greatly reduce the danger of resistance genes spreading to other organisms.

The Vanderbilt iGEM Lab