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Genomics and future biological weapons: the need for preventive action by the biomedical community

There is an increasing concern within both the scientific and security communities that the ongoing revolution in biology has great potential to be misused in offensive biological weapons programs. In light of the 11 September tragedy, we can no longer afford to be complacent about the possibility of biological terrorism. Here we review the major relevant trends in genomics research and development, and discuss how these capabilities might be misused in the design of new bioweapons. We also discuss how the breakthroughs that have come from the genomics revolution may be used to enhance detection, protection and treatment so that biological warfare agents are never used.

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Correspondence to Claire M. Fraser.

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Fraser, C., Dando, M. Genomics and future biological weapons: the need for preventive action by the biomedical community. Nat Genet 29, 253–256 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/ng763

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