From biowelfare to bioweapons: There are many sides to the biotechnology revolution, and not all of them bode well for the future

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Credit: Firstpost
Credit: Firstpost

Global collection of genetic data and genetic manipulation of humans, animals, plants, destructive insects and deadly microbes is of dual use from bio-welfare to bio-warfare. 

It can be used beneficially for correcting genetic defects in humans, animals, plants; biological control of harmful microbes and insects; enhancing agricultural produce, etc. 

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[However,] novel DNA and RNA can be designed on a computer and assembled in a “Gene synthesis machine”… thus making it possible to create a new life form. Very contagious and new viruses are misused for large scale bio-warfare.

Less contagious pathogens can be multiplied in an animal or tissue culture and easily handled and carried in an agricultural spraying drone and used as a tactical weapon in the battlefield or by terrorists…. In 2016, the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community statement named genome editing as a potential weapon of mass destruction.

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