DNA synthesis security

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


It is generally assumed that genetic engineering advances will, inevitably, facilitate the misapplication of biotechnology toward the production of biological weapons. Unexpectedly, however, some of these very advances in the areas of DNA synthesis and sequencing may enable the implementation of automated and nonintrusive safeguards to avert the illicit applications of biotechnology. In the case of DNA synthesis, automated DNA screening tools could be built into DNA synthesizers in order to block the synthesis of hazardous agents. In addition, a comprehensive safety and security regime for dual-use genetic engineering research could include nonintrusive monitoring of DNA sequencing. This is increasingly feasible as laboratories outsource this service to just a few centralized sequencing factories. The adoption of automated, nonintrusive monitoring and surveillance of the DNA synthesis and sequencing pipelines may avert many risks associated with dual-use biotechnology. Here, we describe the historical background and current challenges associated with dual-use biotechnologies and propose strategies to address these challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGene Synthesis
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
EditorsJean Peccoud
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


  • Biosecurity
  • Biotechnology
  • DNA engineering
  • DNA synthesis
  • Pathogen
  • Toxin


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