Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:
Current Assessment/State of the Field:
Biosecurity Codes – http://www.biosecuritycodes.org/bkgrd.htm
Cookson, Clive, “International Economy: Scientists Convert Virus Into Killer Biowarfare Fear,” THE FINANCIAL TIMES LIMITED, Jan 12, 2001. international economy, pg 15.
Kolata, Gina, “Debate What to Do When Findings Aid an Enemy,” NYT, F1, September 25, 2001.
Atlas, Ronald, “Bioterrorism before and after September 11,” CRITICAL REVIEWS IN MICROBIOLOGY, 27(4):355-379 (2001).
- History of bioterrorism, anthrax, 1979 Russian release from military plant pre-open science debate.
Monastersky, Richard, “National Research Council recommendation on open science:filters,” THE CHRONICLE of HIGHER EDUCATION, oct. 17, 2003. vol. 50, iss 8; pg A28.
Gugliotta, Guy, “Scientists face Security Dilemma: Need for Openness, Secrecy Debated Amid Bioterror Threat,” WASHINGTON POST, Feb 6, 2003.
- UCLA dept of Epidemiology.
- Rosengard’s Mousepox explained.
- Sensitive but unclassified. Reporter quoted scientists in general: Many scientists said controls might be needed, but not if they were going to be imposed from above.
- Atlas, “Imposing criminal penalties would have a chilling effect on the free exchange of information.”
- Marburger, “Science is a social activity.” “The administration is encouraging self-policing.. ”
- Natl academy of sciences, Prez Bruce Alberts said, “”We need to be on the same team with the security folks instead of in opposition”.” ”source? “The one thing we have going for us so is an infrastructure in biomedical research which is far ahead of the ability of the bad guys to use it”
Lubchenco, Jane, Rosswall, Warren et. al., “Scientific freedom: new strategies are needed: threats to the flow of knowledge may come from small groups as well as governments,” NATURE correspondence v. 421, 20 feb 2003.
- ”boycott of Israeli scientists for actions/policies of their government is criticized. -ethics”
Editors, “The Thomas Butler Case: Some Unreported Information and Reasons for the Department of Justice’s Prosecution,” THE SUNSHINE PROJECT, October 28, 2003, http://www.sunshine-project.org/publications/pr/pr281003.html
- [Butler] “prompted a national bioterrorism scare”
- [worked in a] “large and secretive biodefense program supported by the US Army”
- “focus on US biodefense investigating anthrax letters in 2001, led to security concerns when vials went missing”
- “need to prevent sensitive research from the public eye”
- “a leak at a sensitive biodefense project isn’t just a potential health or terrorism threat. An accident could be an international liability.”
Peg Brickley, “Science Police Needed? Security specialist proposes international regulation of potentially dangerous research,” Atlas self-regulation, Steinbruner proposal. THE SCIENTIST
Steinbrunner, John, Okutani, BIOSECURITY and BIOTERRORISM: BIODEFENSE STRATEGY, PRACTICE and SCIENCE, vol. 2, no. 4, 2004.
Gorman, Brian, J. “Balancing National Security and Open Science: A Proposal for Due Process Vetting,” YALE JOURNAL OF LAW AND TECHNOLOGY, Spring 2005. http://www.yjolt.org/files/gorman-7-YJOLT-491.pdf Link to Invited Presentation for the National Academies of Science, 2006, Powerpoint http://www.slideshare.net/bgorman/gorman-national-academies-cscans-30-october-2006-presentation-892140
Ronald M. Atlas, “Biosecurity concerns: Changing the face of academic research,” Chemical Health & Safety, May/June 2005.
- “Biosecurity concerns are starting to exceed those of biosafety.”
Robert Steinbrook, “Biomedical Research and Biosecurity,” n engl j med 353;21, november 24, 2005.
Meng-Kin Lim, “Hostile Use of the Life Sciences”, n engl j med 353;21, november 24, 2005.
Sharp, Phillip, “1918 Flu and Responsible Science” Science, Volume 310. 7 October 2005, page 17.
- “The influenza pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have caused 675,000 deaths in the United States.”
- “We now have the sequence of the virus, perhaps permitting the development of new therapies and vaccines to protect against other such pandemic. The concern is that a terrorist group or a careless investigator could convert this new knowledge into another pandemic.”
- “Influenza is highly infectious, and a new strain could spread around the world in a matter of months, if not weeks. The public needs confidence that the 1918 virus will not escape from research labs.”
- “All of the described experiments were done in a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory, a high-containment environment recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health on an interim basis, whose use should become a permanent requirement for such experiments.”
- “The dual use nature of biological information has been debated widely since September 11, 2001. In 2003, a committee of the U.S. National Academies chaired by Gerald Fink considered this issue, weighing the benefits against the risks of restricting the publication of such biological information.”
- “The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was asked to consider these papers before publication and concluded that the scientific benefit of the future use of this information far outweighs the potential risk of misuse.”
- “Because a pandemic infection is dependent on many unknown properties, there is no certainty that the reconstructed 1918 virus is capable of causing a pandemic.”
Gorman, Brian, J., “Biosecurity and Secrecy Policy: Problems, Theory, and a Call for Executive Action,” I/S, A Journal of Law and Policy 2, no. 1 (2006): 53-102.
- “For the first time since the formalization of information policy at the federal level, there is an opportunity to fashion a well reasoned solution to the growing dual use dilemma in life science research. This paper examines the biosecurity threat in the context of federal secrecy policy and dynamics of the information society. In the absence of a rich literature on secrecy theory, an attempt to examine the theoretical issues underlying aspects of federal secrecy policy is undertaken with particular emphasis on classic problems in secrecy policy.”
- “The duty to consider developing countries when assuming public health risks related to the public release of dual use biological research is introduced.”
- “It is also suggested that the Executive amend Export Administration Regulations in order to create a notice mechanism to enable national security vetting of U.S. research on select agents, toxins and microorganisms integrally related to pandemics and bioweapons.”
Knezo, Genevieve J. “Sensitive But Unclassified”= Information and Other Controls: Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information” CRS Report for Congress, February 15, 2006 http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/permalink/meta-crs-8704:1
Atlas, Ronald, “Securing Life Sciences Research in an Age of Terrorism,” ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ONLINE, Fall 2006. http://www.issues.org/23.1/atlas.html
Field, Kelly, “Federal Agencies Should step Up Oversight of Sensitive Academic Research, GAO Says,” THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, Dec 6, 2006.
- Licensing for foreign students accessing “sensitive technologies”
- Licensing, export-control licenses, GAO Report
Forden, Geoffrey, “How the World’s Most Underdeveloped Nations Get the World’s Most Dangerous Weapons,” Technology and Culture, 2007, pp. 92-103.
- “Iraqi biological weapons administrative infrastructure relied on its own mytoxin experts, who encouraged first research and then production.”
- “According to the Iraq Survey Group’s ”Comprehensive Report”, the Iraqis began research on the powerful nerve agent VX in 1985 with a literature search for published work on its synthesis and production.”
- “In 1975, the Sunday Times of London revealed that the British patent office had, a number of years earlier, approved and published the formula and method of synthesis for a whole family of organophosphate chemicals, including VX.”
- “A machinist can just as easily learn to operate a flow-forming machine by making a tuba horn as a rocket nuzzle; a technician can learn to control a fermenter to brew a vaccine as well as a pathogen; producing a nerve agent is not so different from producing a pesticide. As such beneficial knowledge spreads–and no one would deny a developing country the right to produce vaccines or refine its own agricultural chemicals–it will become that much easier for proliferators to find the necessary population of skilled workers already within the country.”
- “We still need our supply-side-oriented nonproliferation regimes to try to prevent crucual technologies from being shipped to countries that might abuse them.”
Palazzo, Robert, T., FASEB President, August 8, 2007, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology response to NSABB Oversight Framework.
Reuters, “Experts Urge Exchange of Scientific Talent,” NYT, A18, Oct. 19, 2007.
- “The federal government should create a commission to promote the free flow of scientific knowledge and researchers from other countries while balancing the threat from enemies, an expert panel said Thursday.”
- “‘The global scientific enterprise thrives on the movement of students and scholars across borders and among institutions,’ it said in a report.”
- “With fewer American students choosing careers in science and engineering, the American research and development effort cannot be sustained without a significant and steady infusion of foreign participants, the committee said.”
- “But the panel said safeguards are needed to ensure that important research does not fall into the wrong hands.”
- “Dr. Gansler said in a statement. ‘Unnecessary or illconceived restrictions could jeopardize the scientific and technical progress that our nation depends upon.'”
Lakoff, Andrew, Collier, Stephen, J., eds., “Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question,” 2008, ISBN: 978-0-231-14606-7.
Pollack, Andrew, “Researchers Announce a Step Toward Synthetic Life,” New York Times, A15, January 25, 2008.
- Synthetic Biology manufactured the entire genome of a bacterium by stitching together its chemical components/watershed/Venter/Church
- ”genetic engineering is following the path of computer chips, with capability rising rapidly and costs – now about $1 per base – falling swiftly.”
- Some activist groups say that Dr. Venter is going too far, too fast, this time, and that synthetic biology needs outside regulation to prevent the introduction of dangerous organisms, created by evil intent or by innocent error.”
- The team also added some DNA segments to serve as “watermarks,” allowing scientists to distinguish the synthetic genome from the natural one.
Czar, Michael J., et al., “Gene synthesis demystified,” Trends in Biotechnology, Volume 27, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 63-72
- “DNA fabrication of genetic cassettes at base-level precision is transforming genetic engineering from a laborious art to an information-driven discipline. Although substantial advances have been made in the development of DNA fabrication, the methods employed vary widely based on the length of the DNA. All of these methods are available commercially, but can also be performed at the molecular biology bench using typical reagents and procedures. Because the technology is not mature and is still evolving rapidly, it is helpful to gain some understanding of the different steps in this process and the associated technical challenges to successfully take advantage of DNA fabrication in a research project.”
Synthetic Biology, Open Science
Savage, Charlie, “White House Proposes Changes in Bill Protecting Reporters’ Confidentialty,” NYT, A17, Oct. 1, 2009.
- “The Obama administration … opposes legislation that could protect reporters from being impriisioned if they refuse to disclose confidential sources who leak material about national security.”
- “The bill includes safeguards that would require prosecutors to exhaust other methods for finding the source of information before subpoenaing a reporter, and would balance investigators’ interests with ‘the public interest in gathering news and maintaining the free flow of information.’”
- “Officials from the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have also opposed protecting reporters who write about classified matters.”
- “About three dozen states have some form of a reporter-shield law, Ms. Daglish said.”
- “Mr. Spector said that at least 19 journalists had been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information about confidential sources since 2001 and that four had been imprisoned for refusing to comply.”
Markoff, John, “Pentagon Research Director Visits universities in Bid to Re-energize Partnerships,” NYT, A18, Oct. 7, 2009.
- “Anthony J. Tether, a Bush administration appointee … pushed the agency [Defense Advanced Research Projects (Darpa)] toward more classified research.”
- “Under Dr. tether, the agency’s relationship with some of the nation’s leading technology universities had become decidedly chilly as basic research financing declined.”
- ”During the Bush administration, Darpa’s guidelines for financing basic research changed markedly, said Peter Harsha, … The agency shortened the period of research finanicng and tied it to one year ‘go, no-go’ decisions, undercutting longer-term projects. It enforced classification of research or prepublication review on scientific papers, and it established strict United States citizenship requirements for some financing, … ‘It sounds like a lot of that is changing now,’ he (Harsha) said.”
- “Dr. Dugan, the new director of the Pentagon’s research arm, “acknowledged that increasing classification of research had lessened the impact of the agency’s technology on both civilian and military infrastructure, according to several people who participated in the discussions.”
Barry, Ellen, “Some Russian Professors Chafe at Order to Screen Scholarly Exports,” NYT, A6, Oct. 28, 2009.
- “a document signed Oct. 1 … [states that] professors must provide their academic department with copies of texts to be made public outside Russia, so that they can be reviewed for violation of intellectual property laws or potential danger to national security.”
- “Administrators say they are simply bringing the university into line with Russia’s 1999 law on export control, passed after a decade in which some impoverished scientists sold strategic technology to foreign customers.”
- “The St. Petersburg order applies to the humanities as well.”
- “Several St. petersburg professors said they worried that the rule would be applied selectively to penalize specific faculty members.”
- “compliance [with export controls] remains weak , a particular danger in an era in which civilian laboratories produce ‘dual-use technologies’ that can be used in weapon manufacture said Igor Khripunov.”
Barry, Ellen, “Major university In Russia Eases Fears on Rules,” NYT, A7, Nov. 2, 2009.
- “The authorities at St. Petersburg State University issued a statement last week announcing that researchers in the humanities and social sciences would not be required to submit to an export-control screening before publishing their work overseas, easing fears that new procedures would constrain academic freedom.”
- “A statement released by the university on Friday explained that the export-control procedures applied only to research involving ‘dual-use technology,’ nonmilitary techniques that could have military applications.”
Kelle, Alexander, “Ensuring the security of synthetic biology—towards a 5P governance strategy” Syst Synth Biol (2009) 3:85–90
- “The 2008 ISU background paper states that a ‘common example of conflict arises with the transport of dangerous pathogens: in the interests of biosafety, such pathogens should be clearly labelled during transport, but from a biosecurity perspective, labelling the pathogen being shipped may increase the risk of theft or diversion.’” p 85
- “[T]he Committee on Advances in Technology and the Prevention of their Application to Next Generation Bioterrorism and Biological Warfare Threats, the so-called Lemon-Relman committee of the US National Research Council (National Research Council 2006) has urged analysts and policy makers to look beyond lists of potentially harmful biological agents, like those for example on the US select agents list. Rejecting a list-based approach as too limited, the Committee adopted a classification scheme for scientific and technological advances containing four different groups, focussing on features that different technologies have in common. Synthetic biology features in relation to two of these four groups: ‘‘technologies that seek to acquire novel biological or molecular diversity’’ and ‘‘technologies that seek to generate novel but pre-determined and specific biological or molecular entities through directed design’’ (National Research Council 2006, p. 3).” p 86
- “Over the past few years the emergence of two such organisations could be observed: the International Consortium for Polynucleotide Sequencing (ICPS) and the Industry—now renamed into International Association Synthetic Biology (IASB). While ICPS has been revolving around mostly US-based DNA synthesis companies, IASB founding members have been German gene synthesis and bio-informatics companies.” P 86
- “IASB activities agreed upon during a 2008 meeting also put emphasis on DNA order screening, but additionally emphasise the formulation and implementation of best practices across the industry. One key element of such a scheme is the agreement on an industry-wide code of conduct. Oversight and enforcement of standards, however are not regarded as falling into industry’s area of responsibility. As clearly spelled out in the IASB workshop report, ‘‘[u]ltimately, the definition of standards and the enforcement of compliance with these is a government task’’ (Industry Association Synthetic Biology 2008, p. 14).” p 87
- “Article I of the BWC does not cover research on BW, but just development, acquisition, or stockpiling of BW. It is therefore essential for any comprehensive bio-Ensuring the security of synthetic biology security governance system to be able to address the BWCs shortcoming on the international level of not being able to address dual-use research activities that could be misused for nefarious purposes.” pp87-88
Synthetic Biology, Open Science
Ruiz, Rebecca, “More Foreign Students Applying to Graduate Schools,” NYT, A15, April 6, 2010.
- “International applications to graduate programs in the United States increased by 7 percent this year, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Council of Graduate Schools.”
- “Applications from China, India, the Middle East and Turkey grew by doubledigit figures over the last year.”