WMU News

Trustees approve revised policy for recombinant DNA

July 24, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees July 24 approved a revised institutional biosafety policy for all recombinant DNA research conducted by scientists on the WMU campus.

The revision is the result of changes in federal guidelines governing recombinant DNA research activities. The University consistently updates its policy to keep pace with changes in the federal rules and regulations.

Recombinant DNA research involves taking DNA molecules from a natural or synthetic source and growing them in another cell. WMU researchers use this method in cells derived from plants, animals or viruses. The research might be used to explore genetic mutations or to improve the heartiness of particular agricultural crops.

"When research is conducted it needs to be reviewed by some regulatory body to ensure that it's in compliance with specific guidelines," says Loreene L. Broker, research compliance coordinator in WMU's Office of the Vice President for Research. "In this case it's the National Institutes of Health 'Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules.' These are the guidelines that all researchers on campus must follow in order to conduct this type of research."

WMU's Institutional Biosafety Committee ensures compliance with the University's biosafety policy. The group is comprised of three faculty members, two staff members and two scientists who represent the Kalamazoo community. Broker serves as the group's administrator.

The biosafety committee reviews all projects involving recombinant DNA molecules to guarantee compliance with state and federal regulations. Broker says WMU's Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry are currently the only areas conducting this type of research on the campus.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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