Iris Hunger

Articles by Iris Hunger

1 July 2014
Global forum

Technological advances in the life sciences hold out the promise of controlling or eliminating stubborn diseases.

19 December 2008

Restricting the role of biosecurity

Anna ZmorzynskaIris Hunger

The list of issues that qualify as biosecurity concerns is expanding. Protecting against accidental disease outbreaks; the introduction of genetically modified crop plants, or foreign animal or plant diseases; food defense (formerly known as food safety); and controlling natural outbreaks of disease have all recently fallen under the biosecurity umbrella. This broadening scope has the potential to bring renewed attention to certain public health issues, but it also could tie public health too closely to national security agendas and may threaten the freedom of scientific research.

28 February 2008

We're all responsible for biosecurity

Because we all agreed early on--for one reason or another--that most genetic information should
remain freely accessible, this discussion turned quickly to the more general question of what

24 January 2008

The best security measure is transparency

Two more thoughts on the issue of expertise: Expertise is important in building a bioweapon, but
there are different types of expertise. As Jens Kuhn says, expertise in weaponization is rare.

26 December 2007

The case for preventive measures

My fellow discussants repeatedly allude to the same reason to explain why we need to keep
sequence data public: Not doing so would harm the advancement of science and would prevent the
development of top-quality medicine, including for biodefense purposes. This implies that they

20 November 2007

Secret biological research sets a bad precedent

Is the availability of genetic information dangerous? Certainly. But so is driving a car, flying
to the moon, or falling in love. We do a lot of dangerous things, simply because the benefits
outweigh our concerns.