Seeking security : pathogens, open access, and genome databases

Although the questions posed to the committee were limited to consideration of genome sequences of bioterrorism-threat agents, these were by no means the only kind of data that workshop participants discussed. The broader context is complex, and there is no clear demarcation between bioterror-agent...

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Corporate Authors: National Research Council (U.S.) Committee on Genomics Databases for Bioterrorism Threat Agents, National Research Council (U.S.) Committee on Genomics Databases for Bioterrorism Threat Agents (2003, Washington, D.C.)
Format: eBook
Language:English
Published: Washington, D.C. National Academies Press 2004, [2004]
Subjects:
Online Access:
Collection: National Center for Biotechnology Information - Collection details see MPG.ReNa
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520 |a Although the questions posed to the committee were limited to consideration of genome sequences of bioterrorism-threat agents, these were by no means the only kind of data that workshop participants discussed. The broader context is complex, and there is no clear demarcation between bioterror-agent genome sequences and other genome data, gene expression data, protein structures, and other kinds of research results. The key advances in modern life science are not readily apparent in any particular piece of genome data. Instead, the growing set of full-length sequences of many organisms can be thought of as 'raw material' for modern biological research or as the platform from which research can be launched. Data on one organism often prove to be invaluable for building a better understanding of other organisms, and data from many organisms taken together and compared, analyzed, and applied to new questions will allow new and fundamental insights into biological processes.  
520 |a The National Academies committee organized a 1-day workshop on the public release of genome data on bioterrorism-threat agents, which was held in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2003. About 40 invited scientists and policy experts who work in government, private industry, and academic laboratories attended. Workshop participants were asked to address three questions concerning genome data for possible biological weapons agents: What categories of genome data present the greatest concern? What are the pros and cons of unlimited vs. restricted access to such data, including threats posed to the scientific community or to national security? What are some options for making decisions about release to the public domain? The workshop agenda and a list of the participants are appended to this report.  
520 |a  At the workshop, presentations described genome databases and how they are used to advance research in the life sciences. This report describes two recent success stories the rapid international response to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the creation of meningococcus B vaccine candidates-that illustrate the power of genomics and openly accessible databases to help improve our understanding of and aid in the development of countermeasures for infectious diseases. The report also considers how genome data and related technologies might be misused for the development of genetically enhanced biological weapons, and it discusses potential malefactors