NEW CLOSTRIDIUM BOTULINUM and terrorism
l.a.robertson at stm.tudelft.nl
Fri May 10 04:04:33 EST 1996
Mark Pallen <m.pallen at ic.ac.uk> wrote:
>OK, so, in this case, we are not seeing a terrorist fishing for info!;-)
>But a thought has been bouncing around my head for some time now...
>The entire Marburg virus genome sequence is already available via
>and smallpox is planned to be. If one were to synthesise the Marburg
>genome as a set of overlapping oligos (say 1000 50-mers), assemble them
>by PCR and then put a powerful promoter in front that would produce an
>RNA transcript once inside a mammalian cell, would one be able to create
>infectious material? I know that the minus strand of filoviruses is not
>infectious, but what if one instead drove production of the plus strand?
>Is this scenario plausible? If it is at all plausible (leaving aside the
>costs--50K dollars say for the oligos), then isn't it irresponsible
>having this stuff in the databases (the same argument applies to
>bacterial toxin sequences)? Are attempts to download the Marburg
>sequence monitored? If not, why not?
>And how come the US government worries so much about exporting PGP etc.
>when anyone can download the sequences of Marburg, botulin toxin
>etc.from a US server?! Shouldn't that count as a munitions export? :-)
I really don't know how possible this scenario is. However, if it is
really worrying you, why did you publish the addresses for downloading
Kluyver Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, NL
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