Chassis organisms

For construction of the amplification circuit and all cloning experiments, we used Escherichia coli DH5α. For testing the circuit in our final chassis organism of choice, we transformed the plasmids into Bacillus subtilis. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies both E. coli and B. subtilis as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) organisms, and can be handled in a Biosafety Level 1 facility.

Safe Laboratory Practices

All our experimental work was carried out at DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences, which boasts of state-of-the art equipment for facilitating microbiological and synthetic biology research. As a responsible team, we ensure that all safety regulations are complied with and our experimentation does not pose a risk to us and others around us.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Appropriate PPE were used in the lab which include lab coats, closed shoes and safety glasses.


All pipette tips, microcentrifuge tubes, media and glassware were autoclaved prior to use.

Ensuring a contamination-free environment

Handling of bacteria was done in laminar air flow units. This ensures a contamination-free as well as a contained working environment.

Dealing with hazardous materials

Disposable nitrile gloves were used to handle ethidium bromide (EtBr) containing agarose gels as it is a known carcinogen. Used gels as well as EtBr-contaminated pipette tips were put in labelled bags that are handed over to a contractor for disposal by incineration at a municipal facility. A UV-protective face shield was used to view gels using a UV Transilluminator.

Disposal of bacterial cultures

Bacterial cultures, used tips and microfuge tubes were discarded in labelled plastic containers and autoclaved before disposal. Used agar plates were autoclaved before discarding them.

Institutional Biosafety Committee

The Institutional Biosafety Committee is responsible for ensuring that safe biological practices are followed in all laboratories in the Institute. The Committee meets twice a year to review and recommend biosafety measures. The Primary PI of the team, Prof. Arvind Lali, is the Member Secretary of the Committee.

Biosafety regulations in India

While there are many applications of synthetic biology which can benefit society, there are significant risks associated with releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment. But risks are ubiquitous and unavoidable. Our primary goal must be minimization of risks. One way to manage such risk is governmental oversight (Dhan Prakash, 2011). In India, manufacture, transport, use, and sale of GMOs is approved by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). State-, district- and institutional-level committees are tasked with providing information to the GEAC. The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RDAC) takes note of developments in biotechnology at the national and international levels and prepares suitable recommendations for the government.