Necessary Measures: Synthetic Biology & the Biological Weapons Convention


Access to genetic information, gene fragments, and tools for synthetic DNA production is poorly guarded. Anyone seeking to design or manipulate pathogens can obtain the necessary tools to do so from commercial manufacturers in a number of ways. As a result of this regulatory gap, the United States is not taking the “necessary measures” to prevent bioweapon development in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention. This treaty was successfully implemented into federal law, it was not abrogated by its implementing statute, and today it remains the law of the land. Therefore, the United States is not only violating international law; it is also violating federal law. To comply with federal and international law, an executive agency should energetically regulate synthetic biology to prevent it from being weaponized.


Stanford University Stanford, California
  • 25 STAN. TECH. L. REV. 141 (2021)

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