Policies

Privacy Policy

This privacy statement discloses the privacy practices for Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

Information Collection and Use

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is the sole owner of the information collected on this site. We will not sell, share, or rent this information to others in ways different from what is disclosed in this statement. Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences collects information from our users at several different points on our Website.

Cookies

No personally identifiable information (e-mail address, name, etc.) is collected with the cookies that we set, and accepting cookies while on the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences site will not put the user at risk for marketing to other sites.

Different browsers have different cookie-settings. With Netscape you can ask the browser to allow, warn you, or completely disable cookies. Internet Explorer has an additional feature where you can specify different settings for different security zones. You can choose to allow Websites to create cookies for you in your "trusted sites" (like Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences), to warn you before you create them in your local Intranet zone, and to give you an option to never allow them in a "restricted zone." See the "Help" section of your particular browser for more information on working with cookies.

Web Statistics

We use IP addresses to analyze trends, administer the site, track user movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use for reporting and sponsorship purposes. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Sharing

We will share aggregated demographic information with our sponsors and donors. This is not linked to any personal information that can identify any individual person. We only share this information so that we can secure funding to continue providing this site free of charge.

Links

This Website contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences does not claim any responsibility for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every Website that collects personally identifiable information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Website.

Surveys and Feedback section

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via Web surveys. Participation in these surveys is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose this information. Information requested may include demographic information (such as education level), but no information that can identify any individual person will be collected. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the use and satisfaction of this site.

Send This to a Friend

If a user elects to use our "Send this to a friend" function, we ask them for the friend's name and e-mail address. Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will automatically send the friend a one-time e-mail inviting them to visit the site. Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences stores this information temporarily for the sole purpose of sending this one-time e-mail.

Security

This Website takes every precaution to protect our users' information, and we have security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes to this page.

Questions or Comments

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this Website, you can contact us using the information below.


Terms of Use of This Site

Please read these terms of use ("terms") carefully before accessing or participating in any chatroom, newsgroup, bulletin board, mailing list, website, transaction or other on-line forum available at Bigelow.org (collectively, this "site"). by using and participating in this site, you signify that you have read these terms and agree to be bound by and comply with them. If you do not agree to be bound by these terms, then please promptly exit this site. Bigelow labortatory reserves the right to modify these terms at any time and will publish notice of any such modifications on-line at this site. By continuing to access this site after notice of such modifications has been published, you signify your agreement to be bound by them.

Disclaimer

This Site may include un-moderated forums containing the personal opinions and other expressions of the persons who post entries on a wide range of topics. Neither the content of this Site, nor the links to other websites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by Bigelow Laboratory. Bigelow Laboratory is not a publisher of any of the content of such other websites, or of any content that may be available through links to and from them, and is acting solely as an Internet Service Provider. See 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1).

The text and other material on such other websites are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion or information of Bigelow Laboratory. If you feel you might be offended by the content of this Site or such other websites, then you should not continue.

Rules for Online Conduct

You agree to use this Site in accordance with all applicable laws. Because Bigelow Laboratory is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, you agree that you will not use this Site for organized partisan political activities. You further agree that you will not e-mail or post any of the following content anywhere on this Site or on any other Bigelow Laboratory computing resources:

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Content that is otherwise unlawful; or

Copyrighted material, including without limitation software, graphics, text, photographs, sound, video and musical recordings, may not be placed on this Site without the express permission of the owner of the copyright in the material, or other legal entitlement to use the material.

Bigelow Laboratory employees using this Site are expected to abide by the Bigelow Laboratory Code of Conduct - Use of IT Resources.

Although Bigelow Laboratory does not routinely screen or monitor content posted by users to this Site, Bigelow Laboratory reserves the right to remove content which violates the above rules of which it becomes aware, but is under no obligation to do so.

Finally, you agree that you will not access or attempt to access any other user's account, or misrepresent or attempt to misrepresent your identity while using this Site.

Permission to use Materials

In consideration for your agreement to the terms and conditions contained here, Bigelow Laboratory grants you a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to access and use this Site. User may download material from this Site only for User's own personal, non-commercial use. User may not otherwise copy, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, publish, commercially exploit or otherwise transfer any material. The burden of determining that use of any information, software or any other content on this Site is permissible rests with User.

Limitation of Use

You may use this Site for legal purposes only. Furthermore, you agree that, if a third party claims that any material you have contributed to this Site is unlawful, then you will bear the burden of establishing that the material complies with all applicable laws. Although Bigelow Laboratory does not monitor the content of this Site, Bigelow Laboratory has the right to remove material from this Site, block access or take other action with respect to the Material in its sole discretion, although Bigelow Laboratory is under no obligation to do so. You may not use Bigelow Laboratory computing resources or this Site to disseminate unsolicited advertising or promotional material of any kind.

Links to Other Sites

Bigelow Laboratory's Site may include hyperlinks to websites maintained or controlled by others. Bigelow Laboratory is not responsible for and does not routinely screen, approve, review or endorse the contents of or use of any of the products or services that may be offered at these websites.

Choice of Law/Forum Selection

Bigelow Laboratory hosts this Site on computing resources located at 60 Bigelow Drive, East Boothbay, Maine 04544, USA. You agree that any dispute arising out of or relating to these Terms or any content posted to this Site, including copies and republication thereof, whether based in contract, tort, statutory or other law, will be governed by the laws of the State of Maine, excluding its conflicts-of-law provisions, and any relevant federal laws of the United States. You further consent to the personal jurisdiction of and exclusive venue in the federal and state courts located in and serving Lincoln County, Maine as the legal forum for any such dispute.

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General

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Copyright Complaints

Bigelow Laboratory respects the intellectual property rights of others. If you believe your copyright has been violated on this Site, then please give detailed notice via e-mail to webmaster@bigelow.org.


Genetic Modification/Engineering Policy

Great strides have been made in recent years in the ability to manipulate genes. Recent advances in technology such as the gene editing technique CRISPR/Cas9 are making it possible to easily edit genes in everything from bacteria to humans. (CRISPR stands for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” which describes the genetic basis of the method. Cas9 is a restriction enzyme (a protein that cuts DNA) that is guided by a specific RNA molecule to almost any location in the genome of an organism.

This three-year-old technique, for example, has been used to reverse mutations that cause blindness, stop cancer cells from multiplying, render wheat invulnerable to killer fungi like powdery mildew, alter the DNA of yeast so that it consumes plant matter and excretes ethanol, and other equally amazing breakthroughs. With tools like CRISPR/-Cas9, biotechnology has been advancing at breakneck speed, which has led to serious and important discussions about how these technologies are used and what safeguards are in place to ensure they are used appropriately.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences takes the issue of working with genes and the organisms in which they exist very seriously. We have considered, discussed, and implemented a rigorous formal policy for procedures to be followed when working with genes, including the process of deciding whether to engage in a project that involves genetic modification or genetic engineering. This document summarizes our policies, which follow.

Our policies go above and beyond what is required by federal funding agencies or by private industry. We have implemented a thorough review process for all proposed work that includes genetic modification and/or engineering to ensure that we conduct our research 1) professionally 2) in accordance with all accepted safety protocols, and 3) in a thoughtful way that acknowledges the responsibility that is inherent in working with genetic material.

Bigelow Laboratory’s Approach

First, for clarity, it is important to distinguish between genetic modification and genetic engineering. Genetic modification results in what is known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). GMOs are organisms in which the DNA from another genus (or higher taxonomic level) has been inserted into an organism in a laboratory. Genetic engineering (GE) does not always involve inserting DNA from one organism into the genome of another. GE organisms (GEOs) are created instead through exposure to a DNA mutagen (e.g., ultraviolet light, chemical agents), by directed gene ‘knock-outs’, or by targeted gene editing techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9. We have used these definitions in crafting Bigelow Laboratory’s policy governing our work with GMOs and GEOs.

Our policy defines the review mechanisms, decision making responsibility and monitoring requirements for GMO/GEO work at Bigelow Laboratory. These were based on two key documents (Restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms: United States[1]authored by The Law Library of Congress, and the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules )[2] that are periodically updated and revised according to changing technologies and understanding. In essence, these documents set the gold standard for working responsibly with genetic material.

The United States has developed a three-tiered classification system for research involving GMOs including; 1) exempt dealings, 2) notifiable low risk dealings, and 3) licensed dealings. Each has a different set of working and reporting guidelines, which Bigelow Laboratory follows.

Exempt dealings means that scientists are working with strains that pose a low enough risk that the federal agency funding the research does not require prior approval to do the work. (In most instances, the funding agency is aware of the work and has given its tacit approval by funding the research.) Examples of such low risk research includes that which uses standard laboratory strains (e.g., Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae) for replication of inserted DNA, or recombinant DNA that does not impart the genetic blueprint for a vertebrate toxin, or is not derived from a microorganism that can cause disease in humans or animals. Most of Bigelow Laboratory’s genetic work falls under the category of ‘exempt dealings’.

GMOs that pose a low risk if certain management practices are followed are classified as ‘notifiable low risk dealings’. This classification requires researchers to notify the applicable regulatory agency before proceeding with genetic modification/engineering work. Bigelow Laboratory has a review process in place that addresses this classification, which is described further below.

The licensed dealings classification encompasses GMOs that do not meet the previous criteria and that pose a higher risk. Licensed dealings include cloning any genes that impart the genetic code for vertebrate toxins or use hosts that are capable of causing disease in humans. Licensed dealings require the approval of the applicable national regulator (National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation or US Food and Drug Administration).

Ensuring Safe Handling of Genetic Material

For purposes of review and tracking, genetic-related work at Bigelow Laboratory falls under two classifications – Exempt and Limited non-exempt (the latter refers to the federal classification ‘notifiable low risk dealings’). Work at the higher risk category (licensed dealings) is not being conducted at the laboratory and, if proposed, would be subject to review and approval by the Executive Director.

Even before a research proposal involving gene manipulation is submitted for potential funding, that proposal is required to be properly vetted and approved by Bigelow Laboratory’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The IBC makes recommendations about the appropriate classification category for the proposed procedure(s) and specifies whether further review may be required.

The IBC is comprised of scientists with experience and expertise in genetic manipulation technology. They have the responsibility to assess the safety of the use of the technology and to identify any potential risk to public health or the environment. Two IBC members have no affiliation with the laboratory other than membership in the local community, and are meant to represent the public interests of the surrounding community with respect to health and protection of the environment.

Once research involving genetic material is approved by the IBC and signed off by the Executive Director, the research is sent out for expert peer review and funding consideration. If funded, the research is conducted under very specific conditions. These conditions range from conducting the work in fully enclosed laboratory spaces, use of safe handling and decontamination procedures, to securing and/or limiting laboratory access, and other specified processes that ensure the safe handling of genetic material. All genetic material used in our research is contained within lab spaces and destroyed so that it cannot inadvertently be released into the environment.

We implemented this genetic modification and genetic engineering policy to help ensure the safe handling of genetic material at Bigelow Laboratory. We consider our policy and procedures as ‘live’ and evolving documents that will be altered and updated as federal guidelines change to reflect new knowledge, understanding, and technological advances in gene-related science.

If you want to learn more, you can download our complete Genetic Modification/Engineering Policy policy.

[1] http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/usa.php

[2] http://osp.od.nih.gov/office-biotechnology-activities/biosafety/nih-guidelines