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Senate Panel Told Scientific Advances Increases Bioterror Threat Likelihood

Tata O'Toole, DHS Scientist

A group of panelists told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Tuesday that a bioterroism threat’s likelihood will continue to increase with scientific advancements.

“The potency and accessibility of these weapons…will increase as the bioscience revolution proceeds,” said Tara O’Toole, the Department of Homeland Security’s under secretary for science and technology. “In the 1990s, it took a decade and a billion dollars to decode the human genome. We could now do that for a thousands dollars in about a week.”

During the nearly two-and-a-half hour hearing, panelists also highlighted progress since the anthrax attacks 10 years ago. O’Toole said more effective and efficient tools for testing substances have been deployed.

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