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Biosafety ethics clearance

A range of teaching and research activities involving the construction and/or propagation of viroids, viruses, cells or organisms of novel genotype produced by genetic manipulation are undertaken at USQ.

As these activities are either unlikely to occur in nature, or likely to pose a hazard to public health or to the environment, there is a need to ensure the health and well being of staff, students, the USQ community, including visitors, and the environment. This is achieved through risk management and approval processes adopted by faculties, administrative and operational divisions.

Gene technology regulations

USQ must comply with the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwlth) and the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 administered by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). These regulations cover all dealings with genetically modified organisms(GMOs).

Dealings as defined by the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwlth) include:

  • conducting experiments with GMOs
  • making, developing, producing, manufacturing GMOs
  • breeding
  • propagating
  • using the GMOs in manufacturing of non GM products
  • growing, raising, culturing GMOs
  • importing GMOs
  • the possession, use, transport or disposal of the GMO for purposes of, or in the course of a dealing mentioned in 1 to 7.

Every dealing with a genetically modified organism (GMO) must be licensed by the Gene Technology Regulator unless the dealing is:

  • an exempt dealing (no exempt dealing can be started without written permission from the Institutional Biosafety Committee) 
  • a notifiable low risk dealing
or
  • on the Register of GMOs.

USQ's Institutional Biosafety Committee is empowered to recommend to the Gene Technology Regulator that a proposal be an exempt dealing.