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Biosecurity and Dual-Use Technologies

in Program

Dual-use technologies can be applied to a purpose outside of the
original intent, whether beneficially (as when a technology developed
for the military also proves useful in the commercial or public sector),
or maliciously. The anthrax assaults of 2001 drew scrutiny to the
biosciences as a field in which almost every technology can be termed
dual-use. Policymakers focused quickly on limiting access to “dangerous
pathogens,” but scientists themselves have reached little consensus on
whether this approach mends an appalling vulnerability or offers only a
false sense of security purchased with onerous paperwork. If any
biotechnology could be potentially misused, what, who, and how do we
regulate? The Biological and Chemical Threats program evaluates the
effectiveness of the evolving U.S. biosecurity framework in the context
of historical dual-use technology controls, recommending next steps for
policymakers and scientists alike.

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