University of Alberta - BioBytes


The Biobytes gene assembly method accelerates DNA construction, making large scale genome engineering possible. This opens the door to massively re-engineered life forms to serve as chasses for specialized pathways. However, as access to primers and template DNA remains regulated, our assembly method poses no greater safety risk. Furthermore, our minimal genome design allows for viability only in optimized lab conditions (i.e. in supplemented media at 37°C). This abolishes the risk of potential public and general environment exposure to our synthetic cell. Moreover, by allowing rapid testing of prototypes, Biobytes allows researchers to explore more possibilities and find safer, more sustainable solutions. By accelerating gene assembly, we accelerate experiments that improve our understanding of the genome, allowing us to better predict the outcome of genetic modifications.

1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:

researcher safety? No.

public safety? No.

environmental safety? No.

2. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?

There is the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. In addition, there are safety committees at individual departments at this university.

3. What does your local biosafety group think about your project?

Our project does not require safety review, as it is a method of DNA assembly. The genes we have worked with are commonly used in molecular biology (ex: kanamycin and ampicillin resistance, GFP, and RFP).

4. Do any of the new BioBrick parts that you made this year raise any safety issues?