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For iGEM 2009 teams are asked to detail how they approached any issues of biological safety associated with their projects.

Specifically, teams should consider the following four questions: 1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:

  • researcher safety,
  • public safety, or
  • environmental safety?

Maybe, because one of our objectives is to exchange the P2’s region control by an antibiotic resistance, you could confer a resistance to a susceptible bacterial strain. It would happen if your goal was to protect the bacteria against some viruses. Other issue is that maybe the E3 toxin could attack the eucariote ribosomes.

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

3. What does your local biosafety group think about your project?
They think this risk is latent but you can maintain P2 apart from the population and you can screen for the resistance periodically. So, it is possible to control this safety issue. About the E3 toxin they told us that in the laboratory conditions it is not a problem because you work in a restricted environment.

In some literature we have found E3 colicin is able to recognize and cut mouse and HeLa ribosomes(1) however in other studies they ensure low dosis of these toxin are not so hazardous because of the immune system (2). In fact, in a third source they mention this toxin could be used as an anticarcinogenic drug because cancer cells are much more damaged by colicin E3 than normal ones.(3)

Do any of the new BioBrick parts that you made this year raise any safety issues? Yes, the E3 colicin.
o If yes, did you document these issues in the Registry? Yes, we will


1 J. Smarda, et al. “The citotoxic and cytocidal effect of colicon E3 on mammalian tissue cells”. Folia Microbiologica.1978
2 - Viklický V. “The cytoplasmic membrane as a site of the primary effect of colicins on eukaryotic cells”. Folia biologica.1979
3 J. Smarda, et al. “The action of colicins on eukaryotic cells”. Toxin Reviews. 1983

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