The bioweapon is in the post

November 9, 2005 | Source: News Service

It would not be difficult for a terrorist to obtain complete genes for deadly biological weapon from several biotech firms online, and receive them by mail within weeks without customer screening or investigation, according to a New Scientist investigation.

It raises the frightening prospect of terrorists mail-ordering genes for key bioweapon agents such as smallpox, and using them to engineer new and deadly pathogens.

MIT bioengineer Drew Endy argues that what’s needed is better self-regulation: if researchers only do business with companies that are diligent in sequence screening and other security checks, then terrorists would soon find themselves unable to place orders for dangerous genes.