How Machine Learning Could Keep Dangerous DNA Out of Terrorists’ Hands

January 31, 2019

(Nature) – Biologists the world over routinely pay companies to synthesize snippets of DNA for use in the laboratory or clinic. But intelligence experts and scientists alike have worried for years that bioterrorists could hijack such services to build dangerous viruses and toxins — perhaps by making small changes in a genetic sequence to evade security screening without changing the DNA’s function. Now, the US government is backing efforts that use machine learning to detect whether a DNA sequence encodes part of a dangerous pathogen.

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