Project Safety Design
At NTNU we take our safety seriously, and we have great tools and guidelines available to us to help us achieve a safe working environment in the lab.
When choosing the chassis for our project, we quickly settled on Escherichia coli strains such as DH5α and ER2925. These cells are easy to work with, and have auxotrophies which makes them escaping the lab an unlikely event. In this way, we minimize the risk of our project spreading genetically modified material to the outside world. The parts that we chose to work with are all harmless to humans, targeting promoters and gene expression mostly found in prokaryotic life forms. As our core focus has been the development of new tools for control and regulation of gene expression, we have evaluated their potential for human harm as low, for the time being. The proof-of-concept testing of our project does not involve chemicals or other factors that are of risk to humans or the environment, at least when conducted in a safe laboratory setting. The largest risks here would be accidental ingestion of antibiotics or other poisonous compounds – a problem which is easily avoided. In total, we feel that we have taken the necessary precautions to safeguard from any negative impact of our project.
Safety in the Lab
The people on our team that has been working in the lab, all have experience with this. Before any of us was allowed into the lab we went through an introduction to the lab, the use of all equipment, all the different bench areas and waste treatment with the engineer responsible for this at the NT-faculty at NTNU. We have been working with risk group 1 – organisms only, more specifically Escherichia Coli DH5α. Our laboratory is a safety level 2 laboratory, but we have only needed (and used) equipment for safety level 1. Our laboratory are subject to the following national laws:
- Law of use of genetically modified organisms
- Law about limit and measure values