Preprint Essay Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Global Stewardship of Recombinant Plasmid Sequences

Version 1 : Received: 9 December 2019 / Approved: 10 December 2019 / Online: 10 December 2019 (16:07:24 CET)

How to cite: Parker, M.; Murti, M.; Tuttle, R. E. Global Stewardship of Recombinant Plasmid Sequences. Preprints 2019, 2019120141. Parker, M.; Murti, M.; Tuttle, R. E. Global Stewardship of Recombinant Plasmid Sequences. Preprints 2019, 2019120141.


Recombinant laboratory plasmids (RLPs) are common in biological research and freely shared among academic research laboratories (ARLs), a practice required by many research funding agencies. However, the generation of accurate, reproducible results in experiments utilizing RLPs can be hampered by a lack of accompanying sequence information and metadata. This culture of RLP sharing without knowledge of sequence or etiology is accepted by publishers, not regulated by governments, and outside the realm of bio-industry. In addition, no centralized infrastructure currently exists to collate such data, which at the moment is fragmented across companies, non-profits, and governments and thus is not easily accessed or enacted toward threat assessment. The ubiquity, free exchange, and dual-use risk of RLPs exemplifies a biosecurity threat and elevates the need to characterize their composition to facilitate improved biorisk management by the academic community. A number of common sense solutions are available to create a culture that addresses the biosecurity gap posed by RLP sharing. Culture shift in RLP management will require new norms, effective data management for collation of RLP sequences and metadata, and an incentive structure that encourages sequencing by stakeholders. The next generation of researchers must initiate and champion this shift with support from funding agencies and endorsement from governments and international organizations. Coordination of efforts and stakeholders will require international public/private collaboration, a structure that will be critical to ensure widespread utility as well as the ability of lower-resourced partners to participate, contribute, and benefit.


Biosecurity; Dual-use; Plasmids; Sequencing; Science Policy


Biology and Life Sciences, Biology and Biotechnology

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