Statement of Task
STATEMENT OF TASK
The National Research Council will convene an ad hoc steering committee to oversee a one-day workshop that will identify issues surrounding the release to the public domain of genome data for bioterrorism threat agents. Biological agents considered at the workshop will include those on national “select agent” lists, as well as those that are not but could be considered plausible threats in the future. Questions addressed at the workshop will include but are not limited to the following:
What are the categories of genome data that present the greatest concern?
What are the pros and cons of unlimited versus restricted access to such data, including threats posed to the scientific community or to national security?
What are some options for making decisions about release to the public domain?
The committee will author a report based upon the workshop. The report will 1) capture input from presentations and discussions by workshop participants, 2) identify general issues surrounding the release to the public domain of genome data for bioterrorism threat agents, 3) develop a list of pros and cons associated with the release to the public domain of such data, and 4) present recommendations and/or ideas about policy
options or decision-making frameworks for release to the public domain of pathogen- or pest-related genome information. The workshop will be designed to complement and reinforce related National Academies activities, namely the January 9, 2003 workshop on “Dual-use” Information in the Life Sciences and the ongoing study on Improving Research Standards and Practices to Prevent the Misuse of Biotechnology Research.