Safety/Check In


Safety Check-Ins

You should submit a Check-In before you acquire or use certain materials in your lab. Specifically, you should send us a Check-In for any organism or part that is not on the White List. We expect to reply to most Check-Ins within a few days at most.

Check-Ins are a way for you to quickly and easily ask iGEM's safety experts to review your plans for safely acquiring and using a higher risk organism/part, and to approve your plans or suggest changes.

  • We encourage STUDENTS, instead of instructors, to complete this form.
  • While you type, this form will remember your answers. When you are finished, press the "Submit" button at the bottom to send your form to the iGEM Safety Committee.
  • If you need help, or if you are unsure whether an organism/part requires a Check-In, email safety (at) igem (dot) org to ask.

Once the iGEM Safety Committee has approved your Check-In by email, you may begin working with the material (organism or part). You may Check-In for as many organisms/parts as you wish, and any team member may send a Check-In at any time until the Jamboree.

Frequently Asked Questions about Check-Ins

What if I am unsure whether my organism/part requires a Check-In?

Ask us! Email safety AT igem DOT org to ask questions about what requires a Check-In. Or, because the Check-In form is short and easy, you can submit a Check-In even if you are unsure whether it is necessary.

We want to do a little preliminary work with an organism/part, but we might not use it for our final project. Do we still have to Check-In before we acquire the organism/part?

Yes! Please Check-In for every organism/part you want to acquire that is not on the White List, even if you will not use it in your final project. You can tell us in the "Further Comments" section that it is not for your final project, or that you are unsure. We have made the Check-In form short and easy, so you can Check-In for many parts, even ones you are not sure about using.

Uh-oh! We misunderstood the White List, and we already started working with an organism/part that requires a Check-In. What do we do?

Just let us know. Email safety AT igem DOT org to describe the situation, and send us a Check-In promptly. Tell us in the "Further Comments" section what you have done with the organism/part already.

We are going to use a lot of parts. May we combine them on a single Check-In?

If the parts all come from the same parent organism, you may combine them on a single Check-In, but make sure you give complete information about each part. If the parts come from different parent organisms, please send separate Check-Ins.

You approved our Check-In for an organism/part. Do we still need to ask our university/institution about it? What about checking local laws?

Yes! The iGEM Safety Committee does not replace institutional review boards, or your local government. You are responsible for obtaining from your university or government any approvals that might be necessary. Your university or government might have different rules about what organisms/parts require special approval.

We are only using organisms/parts from the White List, and therefore we do not need to submit any Check-Ins. Do we still need to ask our university/institution about our project? What about checking local laws?

Yes! Again, the iGEM Safety Committee does not replace institutional review boards, or your local government. Even if you are only using organisms/parts that are generally considered "safe", you still have the responsibility to follow good laboratory procedures. Also, you are responsible for ensuring that your project complies with the rules of your university/institution, and with the laws of your nation.

Safety Check In Form

Team Selection

Please choose a team

1. Check In Information

Choose an existing Check-In:

Or, start a new Check-In:

This Check-In is for a:

Organism name:
(Include name of species, strain, and/or cell line.)

(If this Check-In is for a part: Enter the name of the organism that the part originally comes from, not the name of the chassis organism that you will put the part into.)

2. Contact Information



3. Organism Information

3.1 What Risk Group is this organism? [Help about Risk Groups]

Note: iGEM teams should not use Risk Group 3 or 4 organisms, and they should not work in Safety Level 3 or 4 labs. If you are planning to work at Safety Level 3 or 4, contact safety (AT) igem (DOT) org right away!!

3.2 Is the organism on the Australia Group List, or on the U.S. Select Agents and Toxins List?

If Yes, please email safety (at) igem (dot) org. These organisms and their parts are restricted for international shipment. See Safe Shipment for more information.

4. Part Information

4.1 What is the natural function of this part in its parent organism?

4.2 Is the part toxic to humans?

For example, a protein toxin such as Botox (Botulinum toxin), or if it is an enzyme that synthesizes a toxic small molecule.

4.3 Is it a virulence factor, or does it mimic one? [Help about Virulence Factors]

4.4 Does the part, by itself, pose any safety risks? If Yes, what are the risks?

4.5 Does the part, when combined with other parts, pose any safety risks? If Yes, what are the risks?

4.6 What will you use this organism/part for?

How does it fit into the overall function of your project?

4.7 How will you acquire this organism/part?

(e.g. from a culture collection, from another lab, isolating the part from the organism by PCR, ordering the part from a DNA synthesis company)

4.8 Are you taking any additional safety precautions when you use this organism/part?

(e.g. handling it in a separate lab area, wearing additional protective equipment)

4.9 Further Comments

Anything else you want to tell us about this organism/part and how you will use it

4.10 Comments about this form: Is it easy or difficult to use? Are the questions confusing?

6. Sign off


Need to make changes?

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