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1. Jaime Yassif:
In recent years, the cost of DNA synthesis has continued to plummet, new suppliers have emerged in countries around the world, and bench-top synthesis devices that make it easier for scientists to print DNA in their own labs are now commercially available. Safeguards have not always kept up.
Even more concerning, one of the main barriers to a step-by-step blueprint to assemble that DNA into a transmissible, lethal virus could be no more than a paywall in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Many journals continue to publish the latest science on how to tinker with pathogens to make them more transmissible or virulent, and how to make them from scratch.
These developments are taking place in the context of accelerating bioscience and biotechnology advances that are revolutionizing the capability to engineer living systems. These can have real potential benefits in improving human health, fostering economic development, and combating climate change. However, these advances also pose significant risks of deliberate exploitation by malicious actors or through inadvertent misuse. (Source: nti.org, economist.com)