Advanced gene editing may mutate into WMDs

Last June, German police arrested a man planning a terror attack by releasing large quantities of the biological toxin ricin, said to be 6,000 times more poisonous than cyanide. The raids on a block of flats in Cologne blew the lid off our worst fears: non-state actors laying their hands on bioweapons.

Technology has always changed war and its arsenal. Scientists, security experts and diplomats are increasingly talking about biological weapons when they discuss strategies to prevent proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons. While biological attacks have been rare since the end of World War II, isolated incidents have been reported. The ‘anthrax letters’, which killed five people in the US following 9/11, is one such incident.

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