Piers Millet from the UNs Biological Weapons Convention said there was no global organization to ensure biotech was not used for nefarious purposes.
But international bodies did exist to watch out for nuclear and chemical weapons, he told the Cambridge meeting. If you look at the history of the last century we see a very clear trend - every time we make a major step forward in our understanding of biology, we find a weapons application for it, he said. He listed several major cases of biological attacks in the past few decades, such as the doomsday Aum Shinrikyo cult spraying anthrax spores from the roof of an eight-storey building in Tokyo, Japan, in 1993.
Prof Tom Knight, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is referred to by many in the scientific community as the father of synthetic biology, said that there was a race going on between people who try to do bad things, and the ability to use the technology to counter those threats.
With the advancement of synthetic biology, it becomes possible to do dangerous things - but it also becomes possible to respond to those more rapidly, more effectively, with advanced technology.
Source: BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19745045