Feeds

UK paper buys smallpox online

Well, nearly...

High performance access to file storage

UK newspaper the Guardian has bought a sequence of smallpox virus DNA.

The sequence was 78 letters long while the full smallpox genome is 185,000 letters long. The paper claimed: "So to build a virus from scratch, a terrorist would simply order consecutive lengths of DNA along the sequence and glue them together in the correct order."

But the paper did concede: "This is beyond the skills and equipment of the kitchen chemist, but could be achieved by a well-funded terrorist with access to a basic lab and PhD-level personnel."

A scientist told The Register that the would-be terrorist would need more than a kitchen lab - he'd probably have to take over the front room and the garage as well.

The sequence was supplied by Gateshead company VH Bio Ltd.

VH Bio Ltd chairman Alan Volkers told The Reg: "My information is that the chances of producing the smallpox virus from this are infinitesimal. It has been done for smaller organisms and is possible in theory but in practise it will probably not be possible for the next 50 years."

He said the company would be happy with any regulations that it could follow and stay in business, but it cannot use current screening software for every order.

The sequence had three modifications, at the paper's request, to make it harmless. This was done so the paper would not be in breach of the 2001 Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act.

Read the whole story here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.