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Chapter: Biotechnology Applying the Genetic Revolution: Biowarfare and Bioterrorism

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Biowarfare and Bioterrorism

Biological warfare involves not only choosing a disease agent and perhaps modifying it genetically, but also manufacturing and storage, weaponization, and delivery.

Biowarfare and Bioterrorism

INTRODUCTION

Biological warfare involves not only choosing a disease agent and perhaps modifying it genetically, but also manufacturing and storage, weaponization, and delivery. This chapter is intended to address the molecular biology of biowarfare and makes no attempt to cover the more physical and military aspects.

In addition, the subject is plagued by a lack of verifiable information. Accusations of using biological warfare or developing biowarfare agents are often made as propaganda ploys in the absence of any real evidence. Suspicious outbreaks of disease have frequently led to accusations of biowarfare, especially during the Cold War period. Accusing any nation that irritates the U.S. government of harboring “weapons of mass destruction” has become virtually routine. The official list of naughty nations who are supposedly guilty of developing biowarfare agents changes with the constantly shifting political situation. In consequence, reliable information on alleged germ warfare programs is hard to ascertain.


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