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Mail-order Molecules Brew a Terrorism Debate

Date: July 17, 2002
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QUOTE: ...announcement that scientists in New York had used the company's mail-order molecules to make polioviruses from scratch has prompted questions about whether the DNA synthesis industry deserves closer scrutiny...

ABSTRACT: Many companies specializes in producing custom-designed genetic material for pharmaceutical, government, and academic clients. However, a recent report of genetic material being used by scientists in New York to make polioviruses has raised questions regarding closer industry scrutiny. According to Mildred Cho of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford, "If you can go from a viral DNA sequence on paper to an infectious agent using things you can order out of catalogues, obviously that has big implications for bioterrorism."

--Sarah Beck
Sarah Beck

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