Genetically modified organisms

Prior to beginning your research or teaching work using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), you must tell the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) what you plan to do and get the appropriate written approvals.

How do I begin working with GMOs at Curtin? Choose the correct class of Dealing and fill in the correct Application Form.

Begin by deciding which class of GM Dealing you want to do.  There are four classes of GM Dealings (below) and the approval process is different for each class.

Exempt Dealings (EDs)

Exempt Dealings (EDs) pose the lowest level of risk. Curtin is therefore exempt from having to notify the OGTR that EDs are being done (like for an NLRD), or from seeking a Licence from the OGTR (like for a DNIR or DIR).  EDs must be contained within a research or teaching facility, and must not involve the release of the organism into the environment.  To check if your work is an ED, read What Dealings with GMO’s are Classified as Exempt Dealings.

If you want to perform an ED then, before you begin, you must advise the IBC that you wish to do so, by filling in an Exempt Dealing Checking Form [.doc – 112kB].  The Biosafety Advisor will get back to you within a couple of days, to confirm that you are planning to perform an ED or to ask you to submit an application to perform a different kind of dealing.

Notifiable Low Risk Dealings (NLRDs)

These GM Dealings pose a low level of risk. Curtin must notify the OGTR about each NLRD that is being done. NLRDs must be contained within an OGTR-Certified research facility, and must not involve the release of the organism into the environment. To check if your work is an NLRD, read Types of Dealings with GMOs classified as Notifiable Low Risk Dealings (NLRDs).

If you want to perform an NLRD then, before you begin, you must apply to the IBC for permission, by filling in an NLRD Application Form [.doc – 148kB]. The IBC will assess your planned work, and either issue an Approval or ask you to submit an application to perform a different kind of dealing. You cannot commence your work until you receive Approval, and this can take up to two months, so apply early to avoid delays.

Dealings Not involving an Intentional Release (DNIRs)

These GM Dealings pose a higher level of risk. This class includes all dealings that are not EDs or NLRDs, and which do not involve an intentional release of the organism into the environment. DNIRs must be Licenced to Curtin University by the OGTR.  To check if your work is a DNIR, read What are Dealings NOT involving an Intentional Release (DNIR) of a GMO into the environment?

If you want to perform a DNIR then please contact your Biosafety Advisor, who will help you through the application process. You must first apply to the IBC for permission, and gain the IBC’s Approval. The IBC will then apply to the OGTR for permission, and gain the OGTR’s Licence to do the dealing. You cannot commence your work until you receive a Licence, and this can take up to six months, so apply early to avoid delays. For more information see dealings not involving release on the OGTR website.

Dealings involving an Intentional Release (DIRs)

These GM Dealings pose a higher level of risk. This class includes all dealings involving the release of the organism into the environment, usually field trials of plants. DIRs must be Licenced to Curtin University by the OGTR.  To check if your work is a DIR, read What are Dealings involving an Intentional Release (DIR) of a GMO into the environment?

If you want to perform a DIR then please contact your Biosafety Advisor, who will help you through the application process. You must first apply to the IBC for permission, and gain the IBC’s Approval. The IBC will then apply to the OGTR for permission, and gain the OGTR’s Licence to do the dealing. You cannot commence your work until you receive a Licence, and this can take between 9 and 14 months, so apply early to avoid delays.

Legislation governing the use of GMOs in Australia Learn about the Gene Technology Act 2000.

The Gene Technology Act 2000 and Regulations 2001 describe a national scheme for the regulation of GMOs in Australia. The legislation aims to make GM techniques safe for researchers, the public and the environment. However, the safety of recombinant DNA work ultimately depends on the individuals conducting it.

The object of this Act is to protect the health and safety of people and to protect the environment, by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology, and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with GMOs.

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that all work with GMOs within Australia is carried out in such a way that threats to human health and the environment are minimised.

The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) is the administrative body under the Act. The OGTR has awarded Curtin University status as an Accredited Organisation, enabling us to perform gene technology Dealings, and maintain several OGTR-Certified research facilities.

The OGTR empowers the Curtin University Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) to assess and monitor the GM Dealings done at Curtin, and therefore you will need approval from the IBC before you can do any GM Dealing at Curtin.

Working With GMOs training course Find the next course date.

If you work with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), or within a research facility Certified by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), then you need to complete the compulsory Gene Technology Training. This is held every second month through the year.

The date and time will be advertised by Facility Managers and School Managers in the biosciences areas, so keep your eyes open for the email announcement.

Alternatively, get a group together and request a special session, which will be given by the Biosafety Advisor.