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Our publications keep professionals working across the public, private, and academic sectors informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

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Title:

Is the Availability of Genetic Information Dangerous?

Authors:
Gigi Gronvall, Jens Kuhn, Iris Hunger, Leonid Ryabikhin
Date posted:
February 28, 2008
Publication type:
Meeting report
Publication:

Bull At Sci 8 November 2007 to 28 February 2008

Publisher:
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Availability:
Available on publisher's website
Introduction:

The genetic information of organisms—as varied as goldfish and geraniums—is widely available to the global public. So are the biologic codes for many viruses, such as variola (which causes smallpox) and poliovirus. The advance of biological technologies that allow for the construction of specific genetic sequences raises the harrowing possibility that someone, somewhere would use available genetic information to unleash a biological attack. The quandary facing scientists in the life sciences is similar to the issues that confronted scientists at the dawn of the nuclear age: Can potentially dangerous knowledge be made secret? Or should it be kept widely available? Below, our four discussants explore the dangers of keeping genetic information public.

 

 

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