Sunday, June 22, 2008

The expanding range of biowarfare threats

Scientists are developing new substances at the cross section of biology and chemistry--such as peptide bioregulators--that could be used to incapacitate and kill. These substances defy the typical biochemical threat spectrum that includes microbial pathogens such as the anthrax bacterium and toxins such as botulinum. In "The Body’s Own Bioweapons" PDF (March/April 2008 Bulletin), Jonathan B. Tucker, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, documents this research and its impact on existing arms controls. Tucker and his three fellow discussants continue the debate about the impact of these new lethal and incapacitating agents and suggest ways to discourage their development. A treasure trove of articles discussing bioweapons research at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.