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[Arabidopsis] Re: Traveling with Arabidopsis seedlings

Terry Delaney terrence.delaney at uvm.edu
Thu Aug 4 09:57:13 EST 2005

Hi Jessica,

If you can fly with your Toy Poodle, I'd think Arabidopsis should be
okay.  However, a while back I watched as an apparently hapless fellow
in front of me have a bunch of unlabeled culture plates pulled from his
bags at Syracuse Intl Airport.  The agent was justifiably concerned, as
was the traveler, who I should add, is still in prison for attempting
to smuggle stolen biological materials to another country.

Your situation is different, but realize that the agents have no sense
of humor and are trained to be suspicious of everything.  So if I was
carrying plants on plates, I'd declare everything up front, label
everything well, have the recipes for the medium printed out, and carry
a description of the plants as well.  A letter from your chair or
advisor stating their knowledge of your cargo, and a contact number
would help allay concerns.  Also, I'd consider using a standard medium
(such as MS) to avoid issues of toxicity (such as antibiotics).  If
transgenic, keeping the plants plates in a secure secondary containment
(such as a screw top can) would be a good idea too.  Finally I'd not
travel with anything that was irreplaceable, as there's a chance you'll
not be permitted to transport (or retain) the materials.

Best wishes,


> I would like to take seedlings on MS plates with me on a flight.  Has anybody
> done this, especially since security has become tighter?  Any tips or
> precautions I can take to ensure that I will be able to take my plates on the
> airplane?
> Please post to board or respond directly (jmmcabee at u.washington.edu).
> Thank you for any ideas.
> -Jessie McAbee
> Jessica Messmer McAbee, Ph.D.
> University of Washington
> Department of Biology
> Box 355325
> Seattle, WA 98195-5325
> (206)221-5756

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