The complete genome sequences of dozens of microbial pathogens, including smallpox, anthrax, and the plague, are publicly available in databases accessible by the Internet. Should the U.S. government restrict access to this data, given concerns that bioterrorists could potentially use it to engineer the deadly pathogens? Or is such access crucial to the work of researchers trying to find new defenses against the diseases? SEEKING SECURITY: PATHOGENS, OPEN ACCESS, AND GENOME DATABASES, a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council that was requested by the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies, examines this issue. Advance copies will be available to reporters only beginning at noon EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 8. THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED AND NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE BEFORE 4 P.M. EDT ON SEPT. 9. Reporters who wish to obtain a copy should contact the Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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