Anticipating emerging biotechnology threats: A case study of CRISPR

Kathleen M. Vogel, Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article discusses the contingencies and complexities of CRISPR. It outlines key problems regarding off-target effects and replication of experimental work that are important to consider in light of CRISPR's touted ease of use and diffusion. In light of literature on the sociotechnical dimensions of the life sciences and biotechnology and literature on former bioweapons programs, this article argues that we need more detailed empirical case studies of the social and technical factors shaping CRISPR and related gene-editing techniques in order to better understand how they may be different from other advances in biotechnology-or whether similar features remain. This information will be critical to better inform intelligence practitioners and policymakers about the security implications of new gene-editing techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-219
Number of pages17
JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • biological weapons
  • biosecurity
  • diffusion
  • gene editing
  • intelligence
  • off-target effects
  • replication
  • technical challenges

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration


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