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Categories of Biomaterials Needing IBC Review and Approval

Activities involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules-containing plants, plant-associated microorganisms, and small animals shall be conducted in accordance with Appendix P, Physical and Biological Containment for Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules Research Involving Plants, as contained in the latest copy of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules.


Appendix P specifies physical and biological containment conditions and practices suitable to the greenhouse conduct of experiments involving recombinant DNA-containing plants, plant-associated microorganisms, and small animals. Appendix P supersedes standard recombinant DNA (rDNA) containment requirements (Appendix G of the NIH Guidelines) when research plants are of a size, number, or have growth requirements that preclude the use of standard laboratory containment conditions.


Plants covered in Appendix P include, but are not limited to, mosses, liverworts, macroscopic algae, and vascular plants including terrestrial corps, forest, and ornamental species. Plant-associated microorganisms include viroids, virusoids, viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, certain small algae, and microorganisms that have a benign or beneficial association with plants, such as certain Rhizobium species and microorganisms known to cause plant diseases. The appendix applies to microorganisms which are modified with the objective of fostering an association with plants. Plant associated small animals include those arthropods that:

are in obligate association with plants,

are plant pests,

are plant pollinators, or

transmit plant disease agents.


Other small animals include nematodes for which tests of biological properties necessitate the use of plants. Microorganisms associated with such small animals (e.g., pathogens or symbionts) are included. Researchers handling similar organisms (plants, plant-associated microorganisms, and small animals) for which a USDA, APHIS, U.S. Department of the Interior or U. S. Public Health Service permit is required must first notify the IBC of its research by filing a protocol application, and submitting it to the Office of University Research Compliance. This office will coordinate review by the IBC.

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