sábado, octubre 09, 2004

(Taken from Nature magazine)

Synthetic biology is a field that is now raising worries that won't be deflected simply by semantics. The expanding toolbox of ways to re-engineer microbes- and even construct new ones- has opened up extraordinary possibilities for biomedical discovery and environmental engineering. But it also carries potential dangers that could eclipse the concerns already raised about genetic engineering and nanotechnology. If biologists are indeed on the threshold of synthesizing new life forms, the scope for abuse or inadvertent disaster could be huge.

In a dramatic demonstration of the potential risks, virologist Eckard Wimmer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook announced in 2002 that his team had built live poliovirus from scratch using mail-order segments of DNA and a viral genome map that is freely available on the Internet1. The feat put a spotlight on the possibility that bioterrorists could create even more dangerous organisms <>

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