Research Article| Volume 21, ISSUE 3, P619-630, September 2001

The Emerging Impact of Genomics on the Development of Biological Weapons: Threats and Benefits Posed by Engineered Extremophiles

  • Michael J. Daly
    Address reprint requests to Michael J. Daly, PhD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Pathology, Room B3153, 4301 Jones Bridge Road Bethesda, MD 20814-4799.
    From the Department of Pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
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      During the past decades, representatives of Archaea, Bacteria, and Protista have been found thriving in many newly discovered extremely hostile habitats, which hitherto were regarded as too harsh to harbor life. To illustrate how an extremophile could be targeted for development as a biowarfare agent, an example is presented describing current advances in engineering Deinococcus radiodurans. Using a generally applicable combination of conventional genetic engineering and genomic informatics, this extremely radiation-resistant and environmentally robust bacterium is being developed for biotechnology.
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