Dangerous Acquaintances

Lynn C. Klotz and Edward J. Sylvester

in Breeding Bio Insecurity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226444055
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226444079 | DOI:
Dangerous Acquaintances

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The easiest way for terrorists to cause massive panic and death with bioweapons would be to place one graduate student in one of the hundreds of university labs in the BSL-3 or BSL-4 category to replicate on a larger scale what someone has already created. The Council for Responsible Genetics counted more than seventy accidents relating to work with dangerous pathogens from 2002 into 2007. The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has identified more than a dozen bioactivities that are dangerous; some activities are justified and some are not. Only scientists expert in the molecular biology of pathogens are in a position to have a meaningful discussion of the particulars of a specific experiment. One should have mandatory intensive oversight of dangerous lab activities before they begin. Thus, decisions cannot be left to the scientists conducting the research and their institutional biosafety committees alone.

Keywords: bioweapons; BSL-3 category; BSL-4 category; pathogens; bioactivities; molecular biology; institutional biosafety committees

Chapter.  8894 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biotechnology

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