All recombinant DNA molecules used on the Allegheny campus are constructed using vectors of bacterial origin, and they are propagated in common Escherichia coli strains developed to be non-viable outside the laboratory environment. There are currently no vectors being used on the Allegheny campus that are derived from human pathogens.
In the teaching laboratories in which recombinant DNA molecules are used, all students are informed that they are using such a construction, and are made aware of the hazards associated with use of bacteria. They are instructed in the safe and careful handling of these reagents. Students who use recombinant DNA molecules in their research projects are similarly informed of these hazards.
The guidelines for research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules set down by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can be found on the Office of Biotechnology Activities website.