We understand the risks of working in a lab and handling genetically modified organisms. Our team took the safety side of our project seriously and aim to ensure no personal and environmental harm occurs.
We are using E. coli K-12 strain which is in the Risk Group (RG1). RG1 organisms are not associated with disease in healthy adult humans without carrying any active virulence factor, so we believe that it will pose only a minimal risk if it escapes the lab.
Our bacteria will be engineered to enhance phosphorus storage capacity. The genes expressed (ppk, relA, phnCDE) are not known to cause any harm to humans. Our laboratory activities will be carried out using standard lab protocols.
Human Practice on Safety
Biocontainment issues will arise when using the bacteria outside the laboratory. We will develop an enclosed device with a membrane filter to keep the bacteria from skipping into the nature. It is not supposed to spray E. coli directly on the soil as fertilizer.
As one of the Human Practice activities, we spoke to a person from administration to ensure the safe design of our project.
We adhere to biosafety and biosecurity rules provided by our university, which are compliant with national biosafety and security laws and regulations. Below is a link to our university’s policy for gene recombination (Japanese).
All members attended “Genetic Recombination Experiment Education and Training” before starting lab works and learned the laws and risks related to biocontainment.
In addition, our PI/instructors will supervise us during the experiments to ensure that we follow standard lab protocols. They are highly experienced with the experimental practices we require.
Team members attended the safety workshop hosted by iGEM ambassador, Ryo Niwa. We discussed possible risks on an example project.