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Bracing for Armageddon?The Science and Politics of Bioterrorism in America$
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William R Clark

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336214.001.0001

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Genetically Modified Pathogens

Genetically Modified Pathogens

(p.57) Chapter 4 Genetically Modified Pathogens
Bracing for Armageddon?

William R. Clark

Oxford University Press

It is likely that within not too many years, we will have effectively neutralized most if not all of the CDC A-list agents as potential bioterror weapons. But for some time now scientists have been asking what the next generation of bioweapons might look like, and how we can prepare ourselves to defend against them. It is now possible, using molecular biology techniques, to genetically alter existing pathogens to make them more deadly, easier to weaponize, more resistant to drugs or vaccines, or even to create new pathogens that have not existed before. Chapter 4 looks at what has been done to date along these lines, and possibilities for the future. In addition to inserting extra toxic genes into pathogens, researchers have been able to rebuild in the laboratory copies of the extremely deadly 1918 flu virus. Such research is beginning to worry many people, and may be in violation of exisiting bioweapons treaties.

Keywords:   recombinant DNA, Soviet programs, synthetic biology, polio virus, 1918 flu virus, countermeasures

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