Genetic Modification (GM)

Genetic Modification (GM)

Definition: the introduction of new combinations of heritable material by the insertion of nucleic acid molecules, produced by whatever means outside the cell, into any virus, bacterial plasmid or other vector system so as to allow their incorporation into a host organism in which they do not naturally occur but in which they are capable of continued propagation.
Experiments in which Genetic Manipulation is involved are subject to legislation enforced by the Health & Safety Executive (link at and SEERAD/DEFRA and guidance endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification (SACGM). SACGM has produced a Compendium of guidance (2007) which covers all aspects of GM work The relevant sections can be downloaded in pdf format from HSE at:

All workers for recombinant DNA work should refer to this documentation prior to the preparation for experimental work.

Further information can also be found on the University’s Safety & Environmental Protection’s website at:

Experiments involving genetic manipulation should have a written Risk Assessment (see also under COSHH 2002) which is reviewed and discussed with the local GM Safety Committee. Projects of class 2 and 3, or a non-GM micro-organism that is Notifiable, must then to be formally notified to the HSE by the local GM biological Safety officer. Projects of class 3 require approval from the HSE before commencement of experimental work. Any new Class 2 projects that are not covered by an existing approved risk assessment also need to be approved by the HSE prior to the sample being brought in or the experimental work starting. This notification procedure should be effected through your local GM Biological Safety officer (GMBSO). When submitting any updates and changes to the GM-BSO, always quote the reference given by the committee on your approved Risk Assessment.

Basic Rules
The introduction of new GM organisms, vectors or recombinant DNA samples (including those in Class1) to Institute buildings requires the prior agreement of the appropriate GM biological safety officer, or their Deputy. Therefore, all projects need approval from the relevant GM committee prior to any GM experimental work being started.

Please use the following GM risk assessment forms on the SEPS website for all work involving genetically modified organisms. There is also an amendment form for minor modifications available on this site.

For staff in BHF-GCRC, all hospital-based staff, and all those previously affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine, and McGregor building, initial enquiries should be sent to:-
Dr Stuart A Nicklin (GM committee 318)
Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences
telephone: 0141 330 2521
RC434 Level C4
Institute of C&MS
Glasgow G12 8TA

For staff in the Sir Graham Davies building (except ex-Medical Faculty, see above), and all staff previously affiliated with the Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences, initial enquiries should be sent to:-
Dr Joel J Milner (GM committee 37)
Life Sciences Biomolecular Science
telephone: 0141 330 5836
R322 Level 3
Life Sciences Biomolecular Sci
Bower Building
Glasgow G12 8QQ

For Parasitology GM RAs (GM committee 37)
Dr Tansy Hammarton
telephone: 01413306766
RB625 Level B6
University Place
Glasgow G12 8TA

For Microbiology GM RAs (GM committee 37)
Dr Gillian Douce
telephone: 01413302842
RB227 Level B2
University Place
Glasgow G12 8TA

For all staff based on the Garscube campus, initial enquiries should be sent to:-
Garscube - Dr Alice Gallagher
telephone: 01413305774
R204 Level 2
Institute of III
Ian Botham Building
Glasgow G61 1QH

Further information regarding the CMVLS GM committees can be found at: GM Committees

Prior to commencement of work at higher risk levels (SACGM containment levels 3 and above), a worker is required to have a medical examination and annual health reviews.
A good standard of safety and knowledge of appropriate emergency procedures should be known and adhered to for all levels of work.