ADVANTAGES

As researchers continue to transition from the era of DNA sequencing into the era of DNA synthesis, it may soon become feasible to synthesize any virus whose DNA sequence is known (4). This was first demonstrated in 2001 when Dr. Eckard Wimmer re-created the poliovirus and again in 2005 when Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger and Terrence Tumpey re-created the 1918 influenza virus (1). The progress of DNA synthesis technology will also allow for the creation of novel pathogens. According to biological warfare expert Dr. Steven Block, genetically engineered pathogens “could be made safer to handle, easier to distribute, capable of ethnic specificity, or be made to cause higher mortality rates” (2).

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