GENE THEFT

∗ Gene theft or DNA theft is the act of acquiring the genetic material of another human being, often from a public place, without his or her permission.

∗ The DNA may be harvested from a wide variety of common objects such as discarded cigarettes, used coffee cups and hairbrushes. This genetic material can then be used for such purposes as establishing paternity, proving genealogical connections or even unmasking private medical conditions


BIOTERRORISM

Introduction

∗ Bioterrorism is terrorism involving the intentional release or dissemination of biological agents. These agents are bacteria, viruses, or toxins, and may be in a naturally occurring or a human-modified form.

∗ A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, toxins or other harmful agents used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants.

∗ These agents are typically found in nature, but it is possible that they could be mutated or altered to increase their ability to cause disease, make them resistant to current medicines, or to increase their ability to be spread into the environment.

∗ Biological agents can be spread through the air, water, or in food. Terrorists tend to use biological agents because they are extremely difficult to detect and do not cause illness for several hours to several days.

∗ Some bioterrorism agents, like the smallpox virus, can be spread from person to person and some, like anthrax, cannot

Importance

∗ Bioterrorism is an attractive weapon because biological agents are relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain, can be easily disseminated, and can cause widespread fear and panic beyond the actual physical damage they can cause.

Limitations

∗ Bioterrorism has some important limitations; it is difficult to employ a bioweapon in a way that only the enemy is affected and not friendly forces.

∗ A biological weapon is useful to terrorists mainly as a method of creating mass panic and disruption to a state or a country.
 

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