Minimizing the risks for team members and society is one of the most
important issues, especially for us undergraduates. We shall further illustrate
the concept of biosafety and our endeavors by quoting and explaining the five
guiding principles of safe manipulation gene manipulation biology (GMO)
summarized by Kimman et al. in 2008.
1. Hazard identification: Identification of risk assessment have been completed, and all laws and regulations have been considered in accordance with the provisions of the last paragraph.
2. Biological containment: Biological containment refers to the use of
organisms with "reduced replication capacity, ineffectiveness, transmissibility
and toxicity". For our project, replication-restricted viruses are used and they
are all self-inactiviting lentivirus.
3. Concentration and Shell: All working steps for packaging lentivirus are
carried out in our BSL II laboratory, and lentivirus is limited to a biosafety
cabinet. Cell culture and virus storage are also carried out in separate
incubators and freezers.
4. Exposure minimization: This aspect of the exposure minimization
guidelines can be performed under "Operator Protection". When the
manipulating the viral vectors, care should be taken to avoid liquid droplets,
especially aerosols. By inserting or removing materials from laminar flow
cabinet and cleaning all equipment after completing the work tasks, we can
avoid the possible transfer of virus carriers.
5. Physical containment: We will meet the requirements of physical
containment by performing all operations on lentivirus in BSL II laboratory in
which we shall guarantee the number restriction for persons’ entrance in the
BSL II laboratory.
Managing the risks
Rules and guidance
The General requirements for laboratory biosafety are the overall rules of
biosafety, keeping most of our actions in the laboratory safe. And most norms
in these requirements comply with international standards.
In this handbook, Laboratories—General Requirements for biosafety, enacted
by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), stated the security classifications,
laboratory managements, precautious strategies, waste disposal and all kinds
of general requirements and regulations an researcher might encounter in
conducting biological experiments. Below is the link of this handbook.
GB 19489-2008 Laboratories-General requirements for biosafety.
All our participants have received relevant training on biosafety, and received
laboratory standard operation and ethics training in the course. We have
promised to pay much attention to physical protection on our body and strictly
follow the standard procedures and protocols provided by team advisors and
company. Before entering the laboratory, adequate disinfection and change of
clothes, shoes, masks, hats and gloves are required.
Safety of chemicals
The main toxic and harmful chemicals uesd in our project are ethidium
bromide(EB), trichloromethane(CHCl3) and Trizol. To prevent EB used in
agarose gel electrophoresis from polluting the laboratory, an independent
region was set in the labotatory to use EB. And we use trichloromethane and
Trizol in a chemical fume hood when we extract RNA.
Additionally, the purchase, collection, storage, use, transfer and waste
disposal of hazardous chemicals must be strictly implemented in accordance
with national laws and regulations and the relevant provisions of the school.
Biosafety cabinets and instrument materials are fully sterilized before and
after use, including alcohol&benzalkonium bromide treatment and UV
Discussion about ethic in the use of RNA editing
Compared with DNA editing like CRISPR-Cas9, RNA editing doesn’t cause
permanent changes to the genome, and this reversible and easily regulated
editing method may have security advantages. In the 2021 CCiC meetup, Zhao
GuoPing, who is an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, also
mentioned that RNA editing doesn’t face the same ethical challenges as
 Kimman, Tjeerd G., Eric Smit, and Michel R. Klein. "Evidence-Based
Biosafety: a Review of the Principles and Effectiveness of Microbiological
Containment Measures." Clinical Microbiology Reviews 21.3 (2008): 403-425.
School of Life Science , LZU
Address: No. 222, Tianshui South Road, chengguan district, Lanzhou City, Gansu Province,730000, P. R. China.