Anxiety about threats from the microbial world and about the deliberate misuse of microorganisms has led to efforts to define and control these dangers using lists and regulations. One list with tremendous legal implications and a potentially huge impact on research is the Select Agents and Toxins List, which was created by the US Government to limit the possession of and access to particular microorganisms and toxins. In this article, in addition to highlighting general problems with taxonomy-based, microorganism-centric lists, we discuss our view that such lists may have the paradoxical effect of increasing the societal vulnerability to biological attack and natural epidemics by interfering with the sharing of microbial samples and hindering research on vaccines and therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Infectious Diseases