Our current project raised no safety issues, since it doesn’t involve any future use in humans, and it is not contemplated to be released to the enviroment. Plus the risk is very low because all the bacterial colonies and reagents were properly handled, as taught at the very beginning by our advisors.
Although the genes of both the lux and las operon are sometimes involved in virulence, such as in some species of Pseudomonas, to our knowledge these quorum sensing systems in E. coli are unable to increase the pathogenicity risks, since all the bacterial strains we used are non pathogenic. However E. coli is known to use a different quorum sensing system, the lsr operon; and even it is shown to be capable of sensing other species signals, the domesticated strain DH5a does not respond to these signals increasing its pathogenicity.
Our group is very concerned on biosafety, as a result one of the pending ideas to develop is the implementation of a lock that regulates the viability of the synthetic organisms when they are released to th enviroment.