Biological Sciences

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Developments in the biological sciences have produced great benefits, including in relation to the control of diseases. However, in the recent and not so recent past, a number of governments have sought to develop biological weapons, e.g. the large-scale biological weapons program in the Soviet Union from 1946 to 1992. Moreover, there have been a number of acts, or attempted acts, of bioterrorism, notably by the Aum Shinrikyo in Japan. Techniques of genetic engineering have been available for some time to enhance the virulence, transmissibility and so on of naturally occurring pathogens. Recent developments in synthetic genomics have exacerbated the problem even further. Accordingly, there is the very real possibility of malevolent individuals or groups acquiring pathogens that have enhanced virulence and transmissibility and releasing them into the environment with catastrophic consequence. Some obvious regulatory measures that might be considered in relation to dual use issues include: regulations providing for mandatory physical safety and security of the storage, transport and physical access to samples of pathogens, equipment, laboratories etc.; mandatory licensing of dual-use technologies/techniques/pathogen samples; mandatory education and training; mandatory personnel security regulation e.g. background checks; censorship.




Miller, S. (2018). Biological Sciences. In SpringerBriefs in Ethics (pp. 105–114). Springer Nature.

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