Margaret Kosal, associate professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, was quoted in “Bioinformation Wants to Be Free and Responsible” for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.
The idea that technology diffusion relates to national security at strategic and operational levels is central to the work of Margaret Kosal, Ph.D., associate professor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology. Much of her research focuses on reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
“Sometimes a seemingly innocuous project can take on more malevolent overtones,” Dr. Kosal explains. “For example, a biotech company in southeast Asia decided to engineer a more potent form of the botulinum toxin. From a commercial point of view this makes sense, as less of the product would be needed to have the same effect in cosmetic and medical treatments. Unfortunately, from a biosecurity standpoint, this means the potency of a potential biological weapon increased.”
Dr. Kosal argues that when biotech companies approach projects, they should do more than just keep the bottom line in mind. They should also think about the biosecurity repercussions of their work before deciding to move ahead.
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