February 7th, 2012 | Category: Audio, Ethics, Media coverage, Multimedia | Leave a comment

Biosecurity on BBC R4

BBC Radio 4pm tonight at 8pm, File on 4 discusses Biosecurity,

…a rapidly developing branch of science known as ‘synthetic biology’ offers dramatic possibilities for developing new vaccines and targeting many lethal diseases. But does it also increase the risk that newly-created organisms could be used for harmful purposes as the necessary research techniques spread out from authorised laboratories to a network of DIY enthusiasts?

There is growing concern that that biological techniques are advancing so quickly that they outstrip the mechanisms to control them. The FBI has tasked a unit to monitor the DIY enthusiasts but admits it only has limited resources to do so.

Could genetic mutation of pathogens become as commonplace as home-brewing? And how well protected is the UK against biological threats?

Available on the iPlayer afterwards.

Update: contains alarmist content some biologists may find upsetting.

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