For iGEM 2009 teams are asked to detail how they approached any issues of biological safety associated with their projects. Therefore we should consider the following four questions:

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

  • researcher safety
  • public safety
  • environmental safety

In our opinion none of our BioBricks or ideas raise any safety issues as mentioned here.

2) Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?
There is in our Department, Department of Biotechnology, indeed a Biological Safety Officer(BSO) who is responsible for the safety in the labs. In general in the Netherlands there is a very strict regulation about biosafety and working with genetically modified organisms.
The lab we work in is an ML1 lab. Each lab within the department has a person responsible for checking whether or not the rules are followed. The persons who are allowed to work in the labs should pass a Biosafety test first. In case someone want to visit our lab we should ask permission form the BSO.

3) What does your local biosafety group think about your project?
We spoke to the BSO about our project. We had to provide the BSO a table containing the micro-organisms, plasmids and genes we used for our project. As long we do not infringe the rules the BSO is satisfied.
The Dutch ministry of Housing, Spatial planning and the environment made an overview of micro-organisms and vectores which we are allowed to use for genetic engineering, we are also able to use derivatives of these vectors. We had to check the list of micro organisms and plasmids we used with the overview made by ministry of Housing, Spatial planning and the environment in order to see we do not infringe the rules.

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

  • If yes, did you document these issues in the Registry?

We do not infringe the rules with our new made BioBrick parts and our BioBricks do not raise any safety issues. We are completely aware that not infringing rules and biosafety could be separated and not infringing rules does not per se guarantee that no biosafety issues raise.