Battelle to develop biotech threat assessment software

Homeland Preparedness | Jan. 11, 2018

By Kevin Randolph

The government’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) recently awarded a contract to Battelle to develop software to evaluate threats posed by the creation of dangerous organisms through synthetic biology and genetic engineering.

Thanks to recent advances in biotechnology, researchers can synthetically create microbes using raw genetic materials or edit DNA to create modified microorganisms. These advances allow researchers to create microbes that have a variety of beneficial purposes but can also, in rare cases, make harmful pathogens more contagious or virulent. IARPA’s Functional Genomic and Computational Assessment of Threats (Fun GCAT) program aims to counter these potential threats.

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