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This seems to be around 20 years old:
Gene Therapy as a Weapon: 96

Gene therapy will revolutionize the treatment of human genetic diseases. The goal is to effect a permanent change in the genetic composition of a person by repairing or replacing a faulty gene. Genes have already been spliced into bacteria to produce ―human insulin in large quantities. 97 The eventual goal is to splice a gene that codes for the production of insulin into human pancreatic tissue to cure diabetes. Similar research is progressing on adding in the missing gene to prevent the symptoms of cystic fibrosis.

However, the same technology could be subverted to insert pathogenic genes. There are two general classes of gene therapy: germ-cell line (reproductive) and somatic cell line (therapeutic). Changes in DNA in germ cells would be inherited by future generations.

Changes in DNA of somatic cells would affect only the individual and could not be passed on to descendants. Manipulation of somatic cells is subject to less ethical scrutiny than manipulation of germ cells. This concept has already been used to alter the immunity of animals. The vaccinia virus (a poxvirus used to make immunization against smallpox) has been used as a vector to insert genes in mammalian cells. This genetically engineered virus has been used successfully to produce an oral vaccine to prevent rabies in wildlife.

Research for similar gene splicing in humans continues for possible vectors to carry the replacement genes to their targets. 98 As has been done for animals, there is potential for human ―vaccination against certain diseases, or as a targeted delivery capability for therapeutic drugs or cytotoxic effects. 99

One class of experimental vectors is the retroviruses which permanently integrate themselves into human chromosomes. 100 HIV, which causes AIDS, is a retrovirus. So it should not be hard to understand that gene therapy might have sinister capability. A viral vector has already produced a lethal strain of mousepox virus. 101 The genetically manipulated virus completely suppressed the cell-mediated response (the arm of the immune system that combats viral infections) of the lab mice. 102 Even mice previously vaccinated against the natural mousepox virus died within days of exposure to the super virus. Mousepox (which does not infect humans) and smallpox are related viruses. If smallpox were to be similarly genetically manipulated, our current vaccine may not protect against it. These vectors are not yet very efficient in introducing genes into tissue cells.

But if a medical technique is perfected, similar vectors might eventually be used to insert harmful genes into an unsuspecting population. Techniques for cloning tissues and embryos continue to advance. Reproductive (germ-cell) cloning aims to implant a cloned embryo into a woman‘s uterus leading to the birth of a cloned baby. Therapeutic (somatic cell) cloning aims to use genes from a person‘s own cells to generate healthy tissue to treat a disease. For example, such cloning could be used to grow pancreatic cells to produce insulin to treat diabetes, or to grow nerve cells to repair damaged spinal cords. 104

Already sheep, mice, swine, and cattle have been cloned. However, success (defined as births of live animals) rates are low. 105 Initial cloning work with human embryos to produce omnipotent stem cells has been reported. 106 Theoretically, the stem cells could in turn grow into virtually any cell type and serve as replacement tissue in diseases like diabetes. 107

Researchers have also used a virus to insert a jellyfish gene into a rhesus monkey egg and produced the first genetically altered primate. 108 The use of embryos and germ cells has raised many ethical questions.

95. Carina Dennis, ―The Bugs of War,‖ Nature, 17 May 01, 232-235.

96. Block, 60-63.

97. Zilinskas, 13. The bacteria E. coli have been genetically engineered to produce commercial quantities of valuable complex proteins, including insulin, human growth hormone, interferon, hepatitis B surface antigens, and angiotensin.

98. Bernard Moss, ―Genetically Engineered Poxviruses for Recombinant Gene Expression, Vaccination, and Safety,‖ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1996, Vol. 93, 11341-11348, as abstracted in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 6 August 1997, Vol. 278, No.5., 350.

99. Block, 60.

100. Ibid., 62.

101. Ronald J. Jackson, et. al., ―Expression of Mouse Interleukin-4 by a Recombinant Ectromelia Virus Suppresses Cytolytic Lymphocyte Responses and Overcomes Genetic Resistance to Mousepox,‖ Journal of Virology, February 2001, 1205-1210.

102. Nowak, 4-5; see also, Stanley L. Robbins, Ramzi S. Cotran, and Vinay Kumar, Pathologic Basis of Disease, Third Ed. (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1984), 158. The immune response compromises all the phenomena that result from the specific interaction of cells of the immune system with antigens (foreign material). Entrance of an antigen into the body can have two possible outcomes: (1) a humoral immune response, involving the synthesis and release of antibody molecules within the blood and extracellular fluids; or (2) cell-mediated immunity, manifested by production of ―sensitized‖ lymphocytes capable of interacting with antigens such as bacterial toxins and cause neutralization of the toxin, or they can coat the antigenic surfaces of microorganisms and render them susceptible to lysis by complement or to phagocytosis by macrophages. In the second type of reaction, the sensitized cells are responsible for such actions as rejection of foreign tissue grafts and resistance against many intracellular microbes, i.e., viruses, fungi, and some bacteria.

103. Dennis, 232-235.

104. Jose B. Cibelli, Robert P. Lanza and Michael D. West, with Carol Ezzell, ―The First Human Cloned Embryo,‖ Scientific American, January 2002.

105. Gina Kolata with Andrew Pollack, ―A Breakthrough on Cloning? Perhaps, or Perhaps Not Yet,‖ New York Times, 27 November 2001, A1-12.

106. Cibelli, x.

107. Gina Kolata, ―Company Says It Produced Embryo Clones,‖ New York Times, 26 November 2001, A-14.

108. Sharon Begley, ―Brave New Monkey,‖ Newsweek, 22 January 2001, 50-52.
Excerpt from: “Next Generation Bioweapons: Genetic Engineering and BW
14 US Air Force Counterproliferation Center Future Warfare Series No. 14
Michael J. Ainscough


(There’s a lot of interesting things in the US Air Force document, especially re the Soviet Bioweapons program.)

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