Many more experiments will explore the virulence factors of bacteria and viruses

The great majority of experiments on pathogenic bacteria or viruses are performed to ascertain exactly what makes the microbes pathogenic and virulent. Scientists are thus continuously exploring the ways that turning certain genes "on" and "off" enable these agents to be transmissible or cause disease in an appropriate host organism. Moreover, the concern over bioterrorism has stimulated the government to provide significantly increased funding to help combat infectious disease. The Fiscal Year 2003 budget passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in January 2003 added $6 -10 billion, spread across a number of agencies, to biodefense research in the United States.1 The NIH, for example, received $1.5 billion for biodefense research. Internationally, other countries are also increasing their investments in civilian bioterrorism defense research. These increased domestic and international investments in basic and applied public health and bioterrorism defense research will inevitably create an increased number of research activities that raise concerns about misuse. This increased activity will also undoubtedly increase the number of research practitioners in this ever-expanding field of investigation with a corresponding increase in the number of articles appearing in the peer-reviewed literature.

Scientific evaluation of the risks is essential. In Chapter 1 we described and provided brief assessments of the dual use dilemmas presented by three recently published experiments. Although quite different, each of these cases has generated

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