TERROR CHEM THREAT: Jihadis could develop deadly viruses that STRIP human DNA

Friday, March 9, 2018
By Paul Martin

TERRORISTS could develop deadly viruses able to shred our DNA or create crop plagues thanks to even cheaper and more efficient gene editing techniques.

By Tom Fish
9th March 2018

With its potential for treating diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes, cutting-edge tech CRISPR has taken the medical world by storm.

The technique has given scientists a powerful way to make precise changes to DNA in bacteria, plants and now in human cells.

But CRISPR’s low cost and relative ease of use has spooked intelligence agencies.

The basic ingredients can be bought online for £40.

And boffins have speculated whether CRISPR can be used to make killer mosquitoes, plagues that wipe out staple crops, or even a virus that cuts away people’s DNA.

While the tech allows scientists to edit dangerous mutations from genes, the reverse is also true – meaning mass malevolent alterations can create deadly mutations.

The threat is so grave that James Clapper, US director of national intelligence, has described the threats posed by gene editing as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

It was the only biotechnology appearing in a tally of more conventional threats, like North Korea’s nuclear testing, Syria’s undeclared chemical weapons, and new Russian international treaty – violating cruise missiles.

“Research in genome editing conducted by countries with different regulatory or ethical standards than those of Western countries probably increases the risk of the creation of potentially harmful biological agents or products,” the National Intelligence Authority worldwide threat assessment report said.

The concern is that biotechnology is a “dual use” technology – meaning normal scientific developments could also be harnessed as weapons.

The Rest…HERE

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