U.S. Intel Official Fears WMD Threat From Gene Editing Technology

Thursday, February 11, 2016
By Paul Martin

By Joshua Krause
FEBRUARY 11, 2016

Truth be told, the world has entered a new age of technology where all bets are off. Even though there are governments and corporations that have much more power than the average person, technology has given more power to modern men and women, than their ancestors could have ever dreamed of. This means that the potential for disaster is now in the hands of more people than ever before.

That’s what James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, recently expressed in regards to modern gene editing technologies, though not in the same words. In his annual worldwide threat assessment report, he suggested that genetic editing devices like CRISPR will soon pose a “weapons of mass destruction and proliferation” threat.

Much like 3D printing, this field of technology has grown more accessible and cost-effective in recent years, which has given more people the ability to tinker with the building blocks of life itself.

Given the broad distribution, low-cost, and accelerated pace of development of this dual-use technology, its deliberate or unintentional misuse might lead to far-reaching economic and national security implications.

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