Our project centers around the creation of a genetic testing system that can be used to perform genotyping on dairy cattle to determine which alleles of the β-casein gene they carry, so that farmers can selectively breed animals to create herds homozygous for the A2 allele of CSN2. While most of the development and initial testing of our system will be done using synthetically engineered DNA (exon 7 of the β-casein gene, the location of the A1/A2 SNP), we will eventually want to test our system on DNA from dairy cattle.
We looked in the literature and found that most bovine genetic tests are performed using hair follicles as a source of DNA (5-7). Another common source of DNA for genetic testing are buccal swabs. We think that we could use either as a source of DNA to test our system.
When completing our safety form, we contacted iGEM for a safety check-in, and prepared animal use form. Before using any animals or materials taken from animals in research, our school requires that a research plan be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). We wrote an IACUC application planning to obtain hair and saliva samples from dairy cows located at a local organic dairy farm, with the permission of, and under the supervision of the owner of the cows. We received approval of our plan.
These are the safety issues we identified that are associated with building and using the heat block device. Users should always be mindful of the risk of electrical shock, and the possibility of burns when working with this device.
Heat Block Safety:
- Do not plug anything into an electrical outlet until instructed to in the directions
- Protective goggles and long clothing should be worn throughout the entire procedure
- Heat resistant gloves may be used if portions of the system need to be moved
- Familiarize yourself with basic electrical safety procedures
Basic Electrical Safety
Educational Outreach Safety
These are the safety issues we identified that are associated with the activities we developed as part of the educational outreach program. These items are in line with basic laboratory safety guidelines that should be used whenever working in a lab, or with chemicals.
General safety actions that should be always undertaken:
- Protective face coverings or eyewear should be worn throughout the entire duration of the program.
- Lab coats should be worn at the demonstration stations
- Long hair must be pulled back from face if performing an experiment
Nitrogen Ice Cream
- Only team members will be handling the liquid nitrogen, student participants should not do so.
- Protective insulating gloves should be worn while handling any equipment or container that contains liquid nitrogen.
- Students' participants should remain at a distance when the team members are conducting the experiment
- Students must be a few feet away when the cap is placed on the container
- All waste items must be discarded properly.
Cloud in a Bottle
- When conducting the experiment, the 1L bottle should not reach full air capacity
- Students should be mindful of the spray duster and the hazards associated with misuse. Never spray air duster directly at another person.