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The strains of E. coli that we have generated in the course of this project are not likely to cause disease or other bio-safety problems under standard laboratory conditions. None of the parts that we have generated in our project have a high inherent bio-safety risk, though it is conceivable that these parts could be used to express proteins that themselves have bio-safety issues. Therefore we stress that users of this technology verify that human risks from expressed proteins are minimal.

We have a safety committee at our institution called Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Here is a link to the Biohazard Risk Assessment Form that EHS requests you fill out. EHS at our institution is primarily interested in work with biological agents which can be considered pathogenic, or work with dangerous chemicals.

Our lab work was all done in strains of E. coli. EHS does not consider work with this particular organism to present any immediate safety risks. We did however use the following chemicals which EHS does consider to be of dangerous origin:

  1. paraoxon
  2. ethidium bromide
  3. acrylamide

The lab we worked in had the appropriate MSDS sheets for these chemicals. We made sure of this before we worked with these chemicals. Everyone knew how to properly handle such chemicals and received the necessary safety training courses to use them.