Biocontainment: Genetic tweak could prevent accidental release of GMO bacteria from labs


When dealing with bacteria in a lab setting, it is often a requirement to ensure that the risk of the bacteria escaping from containment is as minimized as possible…In most situations when dealing with genetically modified bacteria, this isn’t the case…[If a modified] E. coli somehow got into the wild, it would not be able to survive and compete against its wild-type relatives….

[However,] scientists have worked in the past and present to come up with biocontainment methods that eliminate risk of escape.

The first is to engineer a so-called “suicide switch” into the bacteria’s genes…[and the] second trick is to enact a nutritional dependence within the bacteria.

Researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan [found a cheaper alternative when they looked at] Pseudomonas stutzeri, which are able to process phosphite and hypophosphite into usable forms.

[In the study,] the scientists knocked out all the other bacterial genes allowing it to transport phosphate and transgenically added in the phosphite transporter…[As a result] this modified E. coli line [has] the best and lowest frequency of escape mutant generation yet.

[Read the full study here]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: How To Control GMOs: Biocontainment and Genetically Modified Bacteria