Threats from ‘Synthetic Biology’ due to Genetic New Tools

Engineering of viruses became easier and cheaper due to new genetic tools. A report commissioned by the Department of Defense ranked the top threats posed by the rapidly advancing field of "synthetic biology." Normal viruses, such as smallpox, can be made from scratch in the lab. For example, horsepox (similar virus to smallpox) was created in a lab in Canada. Another threat is making existing virus more dangerous. Another danger is the creation of bacteria that would produce harmful biochemicals in humans while living on the skin or in the gut. The new report notes, the same synthetic biology tools that could be used to harm could also be used to fight this threat, by allowing the rapid creation of better medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics. @
Report For Defense Department Ranks Top Threats From 'Synthetic Biology'

A committee of experts examined about a dozen different synthetic biology technologies that could be potentially misused. For each, they considered how likely it was to be usable as a weapon.

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