In the fall of 2001, Bacillus anthracis spores were spread through letters mailed in the United States. Twenty-two people are known to have been infected, and five of these individuals died. Together with the September 11 attacks, this resulted in a reevaluation of the risks and benefits of life science research with the potential for misuse. In this editorial, we review some of the results of these discussions and their implications for the future.
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