#科技头条#【科学家警告:基因编辑技术可能被恐怖分子利用】

#科技头条#【科学家警告:基因编辑技术可能被恐怖分子利用】日前,牛津大学John Parrington教授指出,廉价基因编辑工具正在世界各地广泛使用,这给DIY科学家们提供了机会,生物黑客正在试图改变酵母以生产新的奶酪和啤酒。尽管多数是无害的,但是科学家和安全服务机构对基因编辑的传播表示担忧,认为该技术可能被黑客滥用,以创建新型致命病毒或细菌。

Amateur biohackers could build a biological weapon: Gene editing may be used by terrorists, scientist warns

Amateur 'biohackers' who tinker with the genetic make-up of living organisms could develop new types of biological weapons, a leading academic has warned.

Professor John Parrington, a molecular biologist at Oxford University, claims cheap gene editing tools are becoming widely available around the world.

This is giving DIY scientists the chance to genetically alter organisms like bacteria and yeast to give them properties not seen in nature.

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While most of these are harmless activities, such as developing tests to identify fish being sold in restaurants or to create yeasts that will imbibe craft beer with new flavours, there are growing concerns this could be misused to cause harm.

The FBI is so concerned about the activities of biohackers it has set up a special branch within its Weapons of mass Destruction Directorate to engage with them.

Speaking at the British Science Festival in Swansea, Professor Parrington said there were concerns within the scientific community and security services that it could be used to create a new type of deadly virus or bacteria.

According to the Independent, he said: 'Who knows what will happen in the future. There's some disquiet among the security service about where this is all leading as you might imagine.'

There is a flourishing biohacking community in many parts of the world with amateur groups getting together to develop home-made approaches to studying biology.

For example, one group in London have been working to develop 3D printing that combines fruit juice and cellulose made by bacteria.

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Last year Nature reported that biohackers were also using cutting edge techniques like the gene editing tool CRISPR, which amateur scientists are already using to modify yeast and plants.

For example one group are attempting to engineer yeast to produce a protein found in milk called casein to create a new type of vegan cheese.

Others want to fiddle with yeast to alter the flavour of beer, which apparently one group based in London is already attempting.

Biohackers in Japan hope to reintroduce a gene into blue carnations sold in Japan to revert them back to their natural white state.

But the FBI has concerns about how this might be used and is attempting to engage with scientists working in this area to help establish ways of tackling potential risks.

Supervisory Special Agent Edward You from the FBI's Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate said last year: 'Synthetic biology poses some incredible benefits, but there are some risks involved too.

'Now is the time to be able to identify the vulnerabilities and then start setting up mitigation measures.'

In 2010, Mr You warned that as technologies for editing genomes and conducting biological research become less expensive, the risks involved will increase.

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He said: 'You're having the barrier of entry to do something mischievous, or actually outright nefarious, getting lower, so individuals or groups will be able to conduct potential harm more so than before.'

However, Professor Parrington, author of The deeper Genome and Redesigning Life, said creating new forms of harmful bacteria or viruses was not as simple as it first seems.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3777875/Biohackers-build-biological-weapon-Gene-editing-technology-used-terrorists-scientist-warns.html

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