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Cover of Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology

Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology

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Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); .
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-46518-2ISBN-10: 0-309-46518-4

Scientific advances over the past several decades have accelerated the ability to engineer existing organisms and to potentially create novel ones not found in nature. Synthetic biology, which collectively refers to concepts, approaches, and tools that enable the modification or creation of biological organisms, is being pursued overwhelmingly for beneficial purposes ranging from reducing the burden of disease to improving agricultural yields to remediating pollution. Although the contributions synthetic biology can make in these and other areas hold great promise, it is also possible to imagine malicious uses that could threaten U.S. citizens and military personnel. Making informed decisions about how to address such concerns requires a realistic assessment of the capabilities that could be misused. Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology explores and envisions potential misuses of synthetic biology. This report develops a framework to guide an assessment of the security concerns related to advances in synthetic biology, assesses the levels of concern warranted for such advances, and identifies options that could help mitigate those concerns.

Contents

This project was supported by Contract No. HQ0034-16-C-0062 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Defense. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the view of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

Suggested citation:

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/24890.

Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Bookshelf ID: NBK535877PMID: 30629396DOI: 10.17226/24890

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