of recombinant DNA/RNA molecules
proper handling of biological materials and chemicals
Biological research is done in laboratories operating at different levels of safety and containment, this is primarily dictated by the type of organisms that are being working with. The vast majority of microbiological and genetics research labs in traditional academic, corporate, and government settings operate at Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1), with the most permissive restrictions using only organisms that are known to be non-pathogenic towards people, animals, and plants. Detailed explanations of the four current BSL levels in the US can be found in both the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines; Appendix G) and CDC documentation (section IV of Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories). Our laboratory will be operating exclusively at a BSL1 level. Explicitly this also means that in addition to NOT allowing any work with known pathogens of any sort, we will not be using radioactive isotopes or engaging in either animal or human research. We currently expect to be limiting our research to organisms that are not known pathogens, or are exempt from NIH oversight (such as Escherichia coli K12 strains; Appendix C-II of the NIH Guidelines ; see also http://epa.gov/biotech_rule/pubs/fra/fra004.htm or Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Appendix C-III of the NIH Guidelines), but not limited to these examples. It is possible that work with more primitive metazoan model organisms such as C. elegans (nematode) or D. melanogaster (fruit fly) could be considered in the future.
Briefly, in a BSL1 lab, experiments are usually performed on open bench tops in an open environment using standard, well established microbiological practices. Biologically contaminated materials are segregated in marked waste containers for autoclaving. econtamination procedures are directed at killing normal human flora (everyday microorganisms individuals carry as part of their external microbiome) or those organisms being studied experimentally by simple procedures including handwashing and cleaning working surfaces with disinfectants such as diluted bleach or 70% ethanol. All materials used for microbial cultures (and all microbial cultures, whether transgenic or not) are killed in an autoclave prior to disposal; NO exceptions are allowed (these procedures described above are most clearly articulated in the CDC documentation cited above, Appendix B). In addition to following the NIH and CDC guidelines for BSL1 labs, we will be following the NIH Guidelines cited above which covers working with, and disposing of, transgenic organisms (organisms generated by the stable or transient introduction of exogenous DNA/RNA constructs often including genes and selection markers either antibiotic or auxotrophic in nature). Laboratory personnel will have specific training in the procedures conducted in the laboratory by a scientist with experience in microbiological and genetic techniques.
Working in a laboratory environment is a privilege, not a right. All individuals working in this lab have the right to be made aware of the safety hazards potentially associated with working with commonly used biological and chemical reagants. Any individual found to be not in compliance with our guidelines covering the handling of chemical and/or biological reagants, or who is found through lack of competence, negligence or careless behavior to be a threat to him/her self or others in the lab will be permanently banned from physically participating in laboratory projects conducted by Triangle DIY Biology.
If you have any questions concerning the above, contact Tom Randall at tarandall at gmail.com