Policy Forum

Implementing the New U.S. Dual-Use Policy

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Science  22 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6088, pp. 1525-1527
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223995

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After a decade of intensive policy discussions on the topic of dual-use research of concern (DURC) in the life sciences, there has been a lack of consensus on how to practically define DURC; whether it is feasible to identify and regulate DURC experiments; how to address the risks associated with DURC; and how to balance this risk with the necessity of fostering life sciences research for public health and biodefense. The publication of two avian influenza studies has brought the DURC issue back into sharp focus and has resulted in a new set of federal guidelines. However, the new DURC policy raises questions regarding whether this is the best policy solution to a complicated biosecurity concern.

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