Every member of our team has been trained about general lab safety and project design safety by our previous members. For example, the former leader and our advisors taught us how to run the experiment correctly and avoid mistakes.
Project design safety
For the safety of our team members, we designed the project to be as safe as possible. Because the core of our project is allowing bacteria to commit suicide. Considering biosafety, firstly we selected Escherichia coli as the host cell when implementing the project. To avoid the number of pathogenicity, we limited its number under a specific range. Second, we selected the toxic protein which does no harm to human body. Third, in the process of implementation of the project we chose the RFP as a reporter gene which can be detected directly without adding any harmful reagents. At last, we even used inducible promoters to control the expression of toxin protein genes in gene circuits.
Our team conducted research in a safety level 1/2 laboratory. The organisms we used, E. coli strain DH5α and E. coli Top 10 are suitable for the S1/2-safety laboratory we are working in. Besides, the plasmids we are using for transformation (pSB1C3, pKD46, pKD3, pSB3K3, pSB1K3, pSB4K5 for E. coli) are not harmful for humans.
Because of the nature of our project, contacting with microorganisms is inevitable. In order to avoid any harmful effects to each member of our team, all laboratory work was in accordance with the safety requirements for the laboratory. This includes, but is not limited to, the following examples:
① Eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited in the laboratory.
② Don’t deal with the wastes at random.
③ All experimenter must wear protective equipment such as gloves and Lab coat.
④ All equipments that came into contact with biological material (such as tips and glass glassware) must be autoclaved.
⑤ Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations which are away from ignition sources for fire protection. And there is no accumulated clutter in the hallway, for our safety while accident happening.
⑥ Laboratory for experiments, seminar rooms for research and discussion, and the office used tosearch for information and analyze data are rigorously divided. These provisions are intended to prevent the possibility of unnecessary cross-contamination in the laboratory.
We tried to avoid the use of dangerous chemicals whenever possible. We have completely banned a number of dangerous chemicals, such as ethidium bromide which has been replaced by anthocyanin for our DNA gel electrophoresis. At the same time, we have restricted the use of dangerous chemicals (such as acrylamide) which must be clearly placed in marked areas in the laboratory. And we are also required to keep the chemistry reagents in classified storage.