i don't know, this looks scary

About: Paul Boutin : Biowar for Dummies

How hard is it to build your own weapon of mass destruction? We take a crash course in supervirus engineering to find out.
source: above

Making DNA turns out to be easy if you have the right hardware. The critical piece of gear is a DNA synthesizer. Brent already has one, a yellowing plastic machine the size of an office printer, called an ABI 394. "So, what kind of authorization do I need to buy this equipment?" I ask.

"I suggest you start by typing 'used DNA synthesizer' into Google," Brent says.

I hit eBay first, where ABI 394s go for about $5,000.
...


Tags

  1. terrorism
  2. biowar
  3. dna

Comments


Seth says
i think the problem is not so much making the DNA molecule, but in knowing the sequence to make. but then that is just knowledge, a bit stream that can be transmitted in a file.

Mark de LA says
M 2006-02-21 13:41:28 2809
Well, hopefully this is a sting by the DHS.  Anyway, one would need to know what one is doing trying to make a bug that kills people otherwise one might end up being it's first victim .  Maybe you can make it for cheap, but can you figure out what you got when you finish the job ?It seems to take a week or so (faster on CSI) to figure out what you have in normal criminal investigation. I wonder how someone with malicious intent can do the job with surplus equipment. The picture looks like the thing is a con-job to me


Mark de LA says
Finally, after reading the article after almost posting a "this guy is an asshole for posting it" comment I noticed that it is a far from certain process. In the first place (having been a chemist in a previous life) I know that all chemical reactions produce what you want along with a lot of other stuff depending on closely controlled environments. The same reactions that make the precursor to aspirin also can make TNT. (basic organic chemistry). Purifying the results is the problem. Also keeping from being infected is another problem in biochem. Nobody has synthesized life yet! DNA is not living in spite of hyperventillating gene hackers. One needs life to produce life. It would be far easier to go to Africa, get some blood with ebola or small pox in it and grow it & maybe create more virulent strains with this guy's machine. Anyone with the knowhow can probably figure out some other way to get in Allah's good graces like helping out humanity instead of trying to destroy it!

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