Feeds

UK paper buys smallpox online

Well, nearly...

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.