This week’s lead editorial discusses the benefits and potential risks of allowing genomic information to be freely available on the internet—and supports the recent report by the US National Research Council recommending that such information should remain freely accessible to all.
The editorial comments: ‘But while free and open access to these data is a boon to science, it carries some risk: among the genome sequences freely available on the internet are those for more than 100 pathogens, including the organisms that cause anthrax, botulism, smallpox, Ebola haemorrhagic fever, and plague. It is possible that a government, a terrorist organisation, or even an individual could use data from these repositories to create novel pathogens that could be used as weapons.’
‘The current system also offers tremendous benefits. The panel, which was commissioned by US health and security officials, pointed to the recent experience with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as an example of the power of an open system. In March, 2003, WHO issued a global health alert about an atypical pneumonia in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Guangdong Province in China. Within 6 weeks, the SARS coronavirus had been isolated and cultured, and its genome sequenced and posted on the internet. These data, freely available to all, allowed scientists around the world to begin studying this virus and its pathogenicity, led to the development of vaccine candidates and diagnostic tests, and helped guide the antiviral drug research. “Unfettered, free access to the results of life-science research . . . has served science and society well”, the panel argues, accelerating research and speeding the “life-saving benefits” of that research’.
Richard Lane | alfa
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Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
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