NRC wants genome data unfettered

Nothing to be gained from restricting access to bioterror agent genomes, says report

Eugene Russo(erusso@the-scientist.com)
Sep 9, 2004

A US National Research Council (NRC) report released yesterday (September 9) recommends that access to genome data on microbial pathogens–even potential bioterror agents–should not be restricted, nor should there be any change to the current practices of genomic data release.

"We decided that there was much more to be gained by having the free interaction among scientists and the free interchange of information than there was by having some kind of restriction or registration," report committee chair Stanley Falkow, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, told The Scientist. "It would be like patterning all of modern science with the expectation and worry about a small number of people."

The Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation commissioned the report from the NRC in an effort to seek outside expertise on how to handle the release...

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