The Myth of Gene Weapons


           “In October 1997, Dr. Wayne Nathanson, chief of the Science and Ethics Department of the Medical Society of the United Kingdom, warned the annual meeting of the Society that “gene therapy” might possibly be turned into “gene weapons” which could potentially be used to target particular genes possessed by certain groups of people. These weapons, Nathanson warned, could be delivered not only in the forms already seen in warfare such as gas and aerosol, but could also be added to water supplies, causing not only death but sterility and birth defects in targeted groups.” (Blake 1).

            Although this is a valid point, we’ve already combated bioterrorism in its earliest forms, including anthrax.  It is very difficult to target particular races, because the masses it would affect would require so much damage in terms of other populations. For example, a mass genocide of Jewish people would be difficult, considering there are Jewish people all around the world, they are not necessarily concentrated in certain areas, meaning that the bioterrorism would have to reach all stretches of the earth.

            If you targeted Israel in the hopes to kill Jews, because it is not entirely Jewish, it would also affect the Muslim and Christian population there. In lament terms, it is very difficult to target a specific population due to the fact that they are dispersed worldwide and do not necessarily reside in heavily concentrated areas of people of their own kind. Additionally, over time there is a chance that certain populations will form immunity to such toxins, passing them along to future generations. Thus, making them nearly useless in terms of hurting the population you intended to harm.

            Bioterrorism, and other forms of genetic modifications, haven’t proven to be that successful. The success rate of anthrax was short lived, and its damage was minimal.  anthraxbioterrorAdditionally, many universities have implemented fields of homeland security, which include specific studies in bioterrorism. Thus, as a nation, we are prepared for the potential threats of these types of attacks.  In the realm of affecting the masses of specific diversities, the negative affects outweigh the positive benefits because it would be largely unsuccessful and difficult to target such large populations without having massive amounts of collateral damage.

Blake, Roy. “16. Human Genome Project Opens the Door to Ethnically Specific Bioweapons – Project Censored | Project Censored.” Project Censored. N.p., 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 04 Apr. 2013. <>.


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