Biology came late, and arrived with a bang

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Science  05 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 553
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6273.553

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After the Cold War ended, U.S. military leaders began to worry that rogue states might wage bioterrorism attacks on both U.S. soldiers and civilian populations. That new threat exposed a significant hole in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) portfolio: the life sciences. Remarkably, the agency didn't hire its first biologist until 1990. But over the next quarter-century it made up for lost time, and in June 2014 DARPA put the life sciences on an equal footing with other disciplines by creating the Biology Technologies Office. Arriving late has allowed DARPA to take advantage of the stunning advances in biology over the past 50 years without losing sight of its unique mission.