LaboP1 EN

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Cette page rassemble des informations sur l'utilisation sûre des organismes génétiquement modifiés (OGM) dans le laboratoire P1 du Hackuarium. Voici la version FR de ce page, qui est principalement bilingue, comme l'entrée de la page principale du wiki, maintenant ! =)

This is a page to pull together more information about safe use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Hackuarium P1 laboratory. Here is the French version of this page, which is mainly bilingual, like the wiki main page entry, now! =)

Working safely in the P1 lab

All members who want to use the P1 lab are trained to avoid problems for the environment, themselves or others, in their research pursuits in this lab, whether or not they use genetically modified organisms


The P1 laboratory is a part of Hackuarium with controlled access for trained users, who might want to do biological research and possibly work with genetically modified organisms.

Background & Inspiration

The biohacking ethic of the early 'diybio' community inspired the founding of of the Swiss association, Hackuarium, in 2014 by Luc Henry and Yann Heurteux.

The old archived wiki entry...

DIYBio and Do-It-Together Research in Community Laboratories

The ethical code ( Hackuarium aims to have trans-disciplinary teams working together on open science research projects.

Following the ethical code is key (right).

Safety is primordial, for both kinds of biosecurity - to avoid accidental loss or contamination (biosafety) and prevent the misuse or intentional release of pathogens or toxins (biosecurity).!

This community lab biosafety manual is recommended...

(However, the Pubpub platform, where it can be found, is not accessible for the 'easy' translations. One needs to translate the small segments of parts of most interest to you. DeepL is also worth a try...)

Biosafety and Biosecurity

One of Hackuarium's objectives is to enable everyone to carry out experiments combining biology and technology, and to use its resources safely.

The laboratory has three rooms in the old coop building, one of which, with restricted access, is dedicated to Biosafety Level 1 (P1) experiments, using only organisms that do not normally cause disease. The other two rooms are more for biomaterials, microscopy and chemistry, storage and workshops. As this old building has carpet in the corridor, and even in one of the indoor laboratories, this means that all members need to know the basic rules to follow to avoid potential hazards and risks.

To ensure that Biosafety Level 1 (P1) work is carried out safely, and that pathogens or GMOs are never released from the laboratory maliciously or inadvertently, to protect users, visitors and the environment, all members must be aware of these issues, which are discussed at the annual general assembly meeting.

Basic Training Required to Work in the P1 laboratory

A basic orientation and training program helps P1 users get familiar with the space, equipment, protocols, and safety procedures. It also introduces the members to both types of biosecurity and the resources and safety equipment around the lab. These can then followed by more specific trainings for delicate, hazardous, or expensive equipment and procedures, including molecular analyses and microbiology.

These concepts are always covered:

  • Biosafety levels, depending upon the organism used and what it contains genetically.
  • Emergency procedures, exits, fire extinguishers, emergency contacts
  • Lab hygiene, chemical and biological spills, clean up
  • Lab clothing (including no open shoes, even in summer) and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Lab equipment safety guidelines
  • Waste disposal (separation/inactivation/disposal)
  • Ethical code and code of conduct
  • Swiss legal basis, the Ordinance on Contained Use (OUC, RS 814.912) and the Ordinance on the Protection of Workers against Risks related to Microorganisms (OPTM, RS 832.231). These in turn are based upon the Laws to protect the environment (LPE, RS 814.012), on genetic engineering (LGG RS 814.91) and against epidemics (LEp RS 818.101), in addition to the convention to protect biodiversity (RS 0.451.43).
  • Guiding principles (precautionary principle, controlled access principle, principles of disinfection, inactivation and sterilization, etc.)

Additionally, these may be included:

  • Project-specific safety information based on project review (e.g., chemical or biological specific info)
  • Extra points on working alone in the lab
  • etc.Always follow these basic rules.

Basic Rules for the P1 Lab

Here are the essential rules to abide by, to work in the P1 lab. (at right)

GMOs in the lab

The list of lab GMOs is regularly updated.

To note: Tests of the frozen stocks in the old -20 are not always allowing regrowth of the desired strains. Keeping purified DNA stocks is always recommended to ensure a construct is not lost.

More controlled tests in this regard will be performed early in 2024.

Validations of the usual method of inactivating GMOs for safe disposal are documented in this wiki. A more formal report of the validation tests is also available.

Pages du Wiki Hackuarium autour du travail P1 / Existing Hackuarium Wiki pages around the P1 work

At least three big wiki pages, plus, have contributed to P1 developments in this community lab.

This was our most recent wiki page around our P1 lab activities, from during our time in Ecublens since 2019... It is meant to be bilingual, but has only a few sections done, to date. Of course, any help is warmly welcomed.

This page dates from our initial times in the Ecublens cooperative space, but also includes a recent perspective.

Because of this, it really seemed a good idea, to have a new page (here) gathering all this info now.

This page started it all off, with Sam and YannP putting details together for prototyping 'Standard Operating Procedures' of an initial test P1 space in Renens. It even includes basic information for accident responses.

Then came the page that continued the story, for making an official P1 at the lab in Renens, and carried over into the space in Ecublens, even with recent edits, but full of many details that led to current work. Nonetheless, the current configuration of our P1 is now included early in this older wiki page, Pushing the P1.

This was the page with our first new SOPs including the initial rules when working with GMOs (including how to leave the lab, leaving labcoat inside and sterilising hands, then going to sinks by WCs to wash).

Here is a recent page with a visual summary of the validation experiment of the GMO inactivation with bleach of bacterial cultures for proper disposal.

Recommandations / Recommendations

Apprendre en faisant ! / Learn by doing!

Ne procrastinez pas, et planifiez toujours à l'avance ! / Do not procrastinate, and always plan ahead!

Faites des listes et vérifiez-les deux fois ! / Make lists and check them twice!

Mesurez deux fois et coupez une fois... / Measure twice and cut once...

Wishlist for the P1 lab

We always have known our coop space in Ecublens is destined to be destroyed, so we have made do in spite of some problematic issues (carpeting in the hallways, lack of a sink in the P1 itself, an overall need for more space, etc.). However, that has never prevented us from hoping for more good things to make everything better.

Below, find some of the key items of our current wishlist.

  • An icemaker
  • A -80 freezer to stock strains.
  • A refrigerator that won't freeze up so often.
  • A more reliable -20 freezer...
  • A source for clean water for molecular microbiology.**
  • A sink in the lab space.
  • A laminar air flow hood, in the P1 lab.
  • A space with more room for biomaterials, chemistry, workshops and more.

Everyone's Responsibilities

Take care, and do not rush!

Follow SOPs, sort waste properly, raise issues, work together.

There is a new signup list (QR code also hanging in the lab)

There is also a new form to fill in, in case of accidents. Hard copies can be found in the drawer 'forms' in the lab.