Best Software Tool
In technological development, risk management is of utmost importance. Especially in controversial contexts such as the use of synthetic biology; identification, assessment, and mitigation of risks are essential to ensure safety and good practice. However, currently there are no general accepted systematic methods to analyse the risks of synthetic biology projects. We developed a hands-on Synthetic-Biology-Risk-Assessment-tool, aiming to assess general risk levels in a more systematic way. This tool focuses on chemical risks and risks concerning physical and environmental harm the addressed genetically modified organisms can cause. For any experiment, the tool allows an estimation of risk levels based on the nature and use of chemical compounds. The estimation is made using standard material safety data combined with input the user gives about the details of the experiment. Physical and environmental risk levels are determined using a set of questions about the used donors, hosts and vectors. The answers the user gives are processed through a simplified framework derived from legislation on genetically modified organisms, which results in an indication of the risk level and required lab safety. We have used the tool to analyse the safety of our project as well. Based on this analysis it, among other things, appears that we have to sterilize our biolenses, due to the core of live bacteria carrying antibiotic resistance. Therefore, the tool has proved it is indeed useful.
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