Researchers Consider Codes of Conduct

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 33
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5731.33b

Scientists should adopt codes of conduct aimed at preventing the development of biological weapons. That was the consensus declared this month in Geneva at the end of a 12-day meeting of experts from 85 countries that have signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Such codes may help raise awareness and set norms for researchers in sensitive fields, participants said. Some existing codes of conduct leave out the issue of biological weapons, and only a few scientific organizations now have such guidelines.

Although the meeting was not set up to reach any agreement, it should “help build momentum” for wider adoption of codes, says bioterror expert Ronald Atlas of the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

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