Biosecurity and open-source biology: The promise and peril of distributed synthetic biological technologies

Nicholas G. Evans, Michael J. Selgelid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we raise ethical concerns about the potential misuse of open-source biology (OSB): biological research and development that progresses through an organisational model of radical openness, deskilling, and innovation. We compare this organisational structure to that of the open-source software model, and detail salient ethical implications of this model. We demonstrate that OSB, in virtue of its commitment to openness, may be resistant to governance attempts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065 - 1083
Number of pages19
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Dual-use
  • Biotechnology
  • Open source
  • Bioterrorism
  • Biocrime
  • Openness
  • Deskilling

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