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Innovation, Dual Use, and Security

Innovation, Dual Use, and Security: Managing the Risks of Emerging Biological and Chemical Technologies

edited by Jonathan B. Tucker
foreword by Richard Danzig
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 368
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Innovation, Dual Use, and Security
    Book Description:

    Recent advances in disciplines such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and neuropharmacology entail a "dual-use dilemma" because they promise benefits for human health and welfare yet pose the risk of misuse for hostile purposes. The emerging field of synthetic genomics, for example, can produce custom DNA molecules for life-saving drugs but also makes possible the creation of deadly viral agents for biological warfare or terrorism. The challenge for policymakers is to prevent the misuse of these new technologies without forgoing their benefits . Innovation, Dual Use, and Security offers a systematic approach for managing the dual-use dilemma. The book presents a "decision framework" for assessing the security risks of emerging technologies and fashioning governance strategies to manage those risks. This framework is applied to fourteen contemporary case studies, including synthetic genomics, DNA shuffling and directed evolution, combinatorial chemistry, protein engineering, immunological modulation, and aerosol vaccines. The book also draws useful lessons from two historical cases: the development of the V-series nerve agents in Britain and the use and misuse of LSD by the U.S. Army and the CIA. Innovation, Dual Use, and Security offers a comprehensive, multifaceted introduction to the challenges of governing dual-use technologies in an era of rapid innovation. The book will be of interest to government officials and other practitioners as well as to students and scholars in security studies, science and technology studies, biology, and chemistry.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-30164-0
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Richard Danzig

    In his autobiographyDisturbing the Universe(1979), the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson recalls a Victorian story he read as a child called “The Magic City.” The tale’s author, Edith Nesbit, posits a hero who has the ability to invent any technology he desires, but whatever he creates can never be discarded. He must live with its consequences for the rest of his life.

    Dyson invoked this story to convey his dismay about the nuclear weapons he had helped to invent. He recognized that the technologies of war can be turned against their makers. In modern terms, they proliferate. Moreover, as...

  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    Jonathan B. Tucker

    Rapid technical innovation in fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and neuropharmacology promises great benefits for human health and welfare but could potentially be exploited for the development and production of biological or chemical weapons.¹ These technologies are said to pose a dual-use dilemma because it is difficult to prevent their misuse without forgoing beneficial applications.² Indeed, many of the emerging technologies with the potential to do the most good are also capable of the greatest harm.

    Recent developments in the life sciences have raised the political salience and urgency of the dual-use problem. In 1999 a report by the British...

  5. I Assessing and Managing Dual-Use Risks

    • 2 Review of the Literature on Dual Use
      (pp. 19-44)
      Jonathan B. Tucker

      A prerequisite for effective governance is the ability to assess the safety and security risks of a technology. Efforts to assess dual-use risks have traditionally revolved around the materials, methods, and products involved in misuse, and governance strategies have also taken an “artifact-centric” approach by seeking to control the availability of dual-use products and services. This traditional paradigm has serious limitations, however, for two reasons. First, whereas the traditional definition of technology emphasizes hardware, equipment, and tools, technology also encompasses people, processes, and know-how.¹ Second, dual-use biological and chemical technologies are increasingly diffuse, globalized, and multidisciplinary and are often based...

    • 3 Current Dual-Use Governance Measures
      (pp. 45-66)
      Lori P. Knowles

      The effective governance of dual-use technologies requires a multifaceted approach that includes three types of measures: hard law (treaties, statutes, and regulations), soft law (voluntary standards and guidelines), and informal measures (awareness raising, professional codes of conduct). These three types of governance measures are not mutually exclusive. For example, voluntary standards and guidelines can be bolstered by criminal or tort laws that impose penalties for breaches of legal standards or the harm caused by accidental or deliberate misuse.¹

      Although this chapter focuses mainly on specific dual-use governance measures, a host of other national laws and regulations relating to environmental protection,...

    • 4 The Decision Framework
      (pp. 67-84)
      Jonathan B. Tucker

      This chapter presents a decision framework that policy makers can use to assess the risk that individual emerging technologies will be misused for hostile purposes, and to develop tailored governance strategies. The model was developed through an iterative process that combined deductive reasoning with feedback from the analysis of empirical case studies. For reasons of clarity, the decision framework is first discussed in this chapter and then applied to fourteen emerging dual-use technologies in the following section.

      The decision framework comprises three interconnected processes: (1) technologymonitoringto detect emerging dual-use innovations with a potential risk of misuse, (2) technology...

  6. II Contemporary Case Studies

    • A Technologies for the Acquisition of Novel Biological or Molecular Diversity

      • 5 Combinatorial Chemistry and High-Throughput Screening
        (pp. 89-100)
        Jonathan B. Tucker

        The traditional process of drug discovery was extremely labor-intensive. Teams of medicinal chemists synthesized thousands of different compounds, which were then screened for biological activity to identify promising “lead” molecules for further development. During the 1980s, researchers developed a more efficient approach to drug discovery. Called combinatorial chemistry, or “combi-chem,” it involves the systematic mixing and matching of chemical building blocks to generate large collections of structurally related compounds called “libraries.” A related technique called high-throughput screening (HTS) is then used to identify specific compounds in the library that have a desired biological activity.

        Whereas a traditional organic chemist can...

      • 6 DNA Shuffling and Directed Evolution
        (pp. 101-116)
        Gerald L. Epstein

        DNA shuffling is one approach for accelerating the evolutionary process by using molecular-biology techniques to manipulate an organism’s genome, the genetic blueprint that determines its inherited characteristics. This manipulation would aim to achieve a practical goal, such as increasing the expression of a protein or improving enzymatic activity. In principle, actors seeking to create novel pathogens or toxins for harmful purposes could misuse this technique, although none are known to have done so. All the tools, materials, and equipment needed to perform DNA shuffling and equivalent techniques are available in modern molecular-biology laboratories and have been used for decades. As...

    • B Technologies for Directed Design

      • 7 Protein Engineering
        (pp. 119-132)
        Catherine Jefferson

        Proteins play vital roles in the body as structural components and catalysts in biochemical reactions. A protein molecule consists of a linear chain of amino acid building blocks, of which twenty different varieties exist. Each type of amino acid has a distinct molecular structure and electrical charge, and the complex interactions among these units and the surrounding water molecules cause the linear chain to fold up spontaneously into a unique globular shape that determines the function of the protein.

        Protein engineering involves the design and synthesis of tailor-made proteins—modified from nature or created from scratch—for applications in industry,...

      • 8 Synthesis of Viral Genomes
        (pp. 133-146)
        Filippa Lentzos and Pamela Silver

        The emerging field of synthetic biology seeks to create a rational framework for manipulating the DNA of living organisms through the application of engineering principles.¹ This chapter focuses on a key enabling technology for synthetic biology: the ability to synthesize strands of DNA from off-the-shelf chemicals and assemble them into genes and microbial genomes. When combined with improved capabilities for the design and assembly of genetic circuits that perform specific tasks, synthetic genomics has the potential for revolutionary advances. At the same time, it could permit the reconstruction of dangerous viruses from scratch, as well as genetic modifications designed to...

      • 9 Synthetic Biology with Standard Parts
        (pp. 147-160)
        Alexander Kelle

        Nuclear physics was the leading science of the twentieth century, but biology is poised to dominate the twenty-first, with synthetic biology perhaps its most ambitious manifestation. This emerging discipline involves “the synthesis of complex, biologically based (or inspired) systems which display functions that do not exist in nature.”¹ If synthetic biology delivers on the promises of its visionaries, it will turn biology into a mechanistic science, triggering a paradigm shift comparable to the way the invention of the periodic table transformed chemistry. Although synthetic biology promises beneficial applications in several fields, this new technoscience (meaning a field where the boundary...

    • C Technologies for the Manipulation of Biological Systems

      • 10 Development of Psychoactive Drugs
        (pp. 163-172)
        Malcolm R. Dando

        Many neuroscientists believe that research over the next few decades will yield an integrated, mechanistic understanding of the human brain and behavior. Such an understanding could lead to effective treatments for people suffering from schizophrenia, depression, and other major mental illnesses, but it could also create new possibilities for misuse. Given the well-documented efforts by military scientists and intelligence agencies during the Cold War to employ psychoactive drugs as truth serums and incapacitating agents, it would be naive to assume that such activities have ended. Although top-down government regulation to prevent the hostile exploitation of neuroscience is unlikely anytime soon,...

      • 11 Synthesis of Peptide Bioregulators
        (pp. 173-186)
        Ralf Trapp

        Bioregulators are naturally occurring chemicals that help to ensure the proper functioning of vital physiological systems in living organisms, such as respiration, blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, consciousness, mood, and the immune response.¹ Recent advances in drug delivery have made bioregulators and the chemical analogs derived from them more attractive as potential medicines. Indeed, the growing understanding of these compounds and their functions in the body is likely to bring about profound changes in medicine by increasing the ability to interveneselectivelyin fundamental biological processes. At the same time, excessive doses of bioregulators can cause severe physiological imbalances,...

      • 12 Immunological Modulation
        (pp. 187-198)
        Nancy Connell

        Antimicrobial drugs have produced dramatic victories against infectious diseases, but many pathogens have developed resistance mechanisms that render these drugs ineffective. In contrast, vaccination remains an efficient and cost-effective approach for preventing infectious diseases and controlling their spread. Although early vaccines were developed by trial and error, today the field of vaccinology is harnessing scientific insights into the operation of the human immune system to design vaccines that induce optimal immune defenses. There is also a new emphasis on developing vaccines for the treatment of noninfectious diseases, such as autoimmune conditions, neurological disorders, cancer, heart disease, allergies, and Alzheimer’ disease.¹...

      • 13 Personal Genomics
        (pp. 199-208)
        Nishal Mohan

        Thanks to advances in DNA sequencing technology and the discovery of genes associated with common diseases, the era of personalized medicine is dawning. Genetic information can be used for disease prevention, early detection, and targeted treatment that tailors drug regimens to a patient’s genetic makeup. Given these prospective benefits, the number of companies providing direct-to-consumer genetic testing services is expanding rapidly. When DNA sequencing reaches a level of cost and accuracy at which decoding entire genomes becomes routine, it may have a revolutionary impact on clinical medicine.

        Personal genomics also has potential dual-use implications. If large amounts of human genetic...

      • 14 RNA Interference
        (pp. 209-222)
        Matthew Metz

        RNA interference is a rapidly expanding field of biomedical research that holds great promise for curing and preventing disease. At the same time, the technology has some potential for misuse, including the creation of pathogens with enhanced virulence and the targeted disruption of genes that serve vital functions in the human body. Because several broadly enabling biotechnologies are integral to RNA interference, it is not suited to formal regulation, but informal approaches to governance may be useful.¹

        RNA interference is an innate cellular mechanism for controlling the expression of genes. Its best-characterized function is to defend against invading viruses, which...

      • 15 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
        (pp. 223-232)
        Jonathan D. Moreno

        Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), invented in 1985, uses electromagnetic induction to penetrate the skull and modulate the electrical activity of the cerebral cortex.¹ Because TMS is a relatively inexpensive technology that can modify cognition and behavior, it is certain to attract attention in the coming years for a variety of applications. As a therapeutic tool, it offers hope for individuals suffering from major depression, Parkinson’s disease, and treatment-resistant migraine headaches, and it is under investigation for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a mind-enhancement technique, it may suppress the effects of sleep deprivation and enable individuals to perform...

    • D Technologies for Production, Packaging, or Delivery

      • 16 Chemical Micro Process Devices
        (pp. 235-248)
        Amy E. Smithson

        Changes are afoot in the chemical and related industries. In addition to their drive for efficiency and flexibility, chemical companies have more recently sought to reduce their environmental footprint and achieve greater process safety. Chemical micro process technology, initially developed in the 1980s, is proving that it can respond to the industry’s needs. Compared to standard chemical reactors, miniaturized devices are safer, faster, more selective, and more energy efficient. Moreover, micro process devices produce higher and more uniform product yields, have greatly reduced waste streams, and are more cost-effective. These advantages explain why the chemical industry has investigated multiple applications...

      • 17 Gene Therapy
        (pp. 249-260)
        Gail Javitt and Anya Prince

        Gene therapy is the insertion of foreign genetic material into a person’s cells or tissues to alter gene function and potentially treat or cure hereditary diseases. Although it was heralded in 1990 as a groundbreaking technology that would radically change the medical community’s ability to fight disease, the ensuing two decades of research have been fraught with setbacks and complications. Researchers have encountered many technical barriers to inserting genes into individuals for therapeutic purposes, and they continue to face challenges during clinical trials.

        Some analysts have speculated about the ability of terrorists and other malicious actors to use gene-therapy techniques...

      • 18 Aerosol Vaccines
        (pp. 261-270)
        Raymond A. Zilinskas and Hussein Alramini

        An aerosol vaccine is a preparation of living but attenuated (nonvirulent) bacteria or viruses that is delivered in the form of an airborne suspension of microscopic particles or droplets. Studies in animals and humans have shown that delivering a vaccine as an aerosol can be more effective in inducing an immune response than administering it orally or by injection. Aerosol vaccines can be designed for delivery into either the nasal cavity or the deep regions of the lungs. Although one human aerosol vaccine for intranasal delivery has been developed and marketed and a few others are in advanced clinical trials,...

  7. III Historical Case Studies

    • 19 Development of the V-Series Nerve Agents
      (pp. 273-288)
      Caitríona McLeish and Brian Balmer

      During the twentieth century, many beneficial dual-use technologies were transferred from the military to the civilian sector, including atomic energy, microelectronic chips, FM radio frequencies, and systems analysis techniques. Less well known and understood are historical transfers of technology from the civilian to the military sector. Such civil-to-military transfers are particularly relevant when discussing chemical warfare (CW) because the production of chemical weapons requires access to a “civilian chemical industry capable of manufacturing organic chemicals on a substantial scale.”¹ Thus a CW capability is inherently characterized by dual-use technologies.

      Drawing on recently released documents from the National Archives in Britain,...

    • 20 The Use and Misuse of LSD by the U.S. Army and the CIA
      (pp. 289-302)
      Mark Wheelis

      The use of chemicals to modify brain function is an ancient practice. For millennia, humans have employed alcohol, marijuana, coca leaf, psychedelic fungi, and other plant extracts for ritual, therapeutic, and recreational purposes. There have also been sporadic reports of the use of psychoactive drugs for hostile ends. A wide variety of drugs have been examined for their potential to incapacitate enemy soldiers, enhance the capabilities of friendly troops, assist in interrogation, and induce psychosis in enemy leaders.¹ Chemicals studied for these purposes have been drawn largely from recreational or ritual drugs, as well as known categories of pharmaceuticals (the...

  8. IV Findings and Conclusions

    • 21 Governance of Emerging Dual-Use Technologies
      (pp. 305-340)
      Kirk C. Bansak and Jonathan B. Tucker

      Chapter 4 proposed a decision framework for assessing and managing the risks of emerging dual-use technologies in the biological and chemical fields. In an effort to test and refine the decision framework, part II applied it to fourteen case studies of emerging dual-use technologies, which were chosen to be illustrative while capturing the range of variability across several key parameters. This concluding chapter performs a comparative analysis of the contemporary case studies and organizes them into a typology based on their risk of misuse and governability. The typology in turn provides the basis for selecting packages of governance measures that...

  9. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 341-344)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 345-346)
  11. Index
    (pp. 347-356)