Biotechnology in defence (Review Paper)

  • T. Lazar Mathew Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences, Delhi
Keywords: Biotechnology, Bioweapons, Human cloning, Biological warfare, Chemical warfare, Genetic engineering, Biosensors, Recombinant DNA technology


Biotechnology, in its present perspective, encompasses activities, such as recombination of genes; cloning, or making genetically identical copies of a living thing; and splicing of genes from DNA of one organism into the genome of unrelated species, to create new, self-reproducing forms of life. The vast potential of biotechnology is being increasingly realised, and efforts are in progress to harness it for improving quality and quantity of bio-weapons, The bio-weapons, as such, are highly attractive because of their non-detection by routine security systems, ease of access, low production cost and easy transportation, A wide range of genetically manipulated organisms and their by-products are considered to have an added advantage, because these genetically manipulated biologics not only accentuate the existing properties of bio-weapons, but also could be made target-specific. Biotechnology, if used prudently, can play a significant role to counter such threats of biologics, viz., by producing (i) bio-armoury comprising powerful antibiotics, antisera toxoids and vaccines to neutralise and eliminate a wide range of diseases, and (ii) bio-sensors for rapid detection, identification and neutralisation of biological warfare agents. This article elucidates some facets of biological warfare, legal protective strategies emphasised through international consultation, cooperation and adherence to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and discusses how biotechnology could be effectively used to strengthen countries' defence and combat the threat of biological warfare.
How to Cite
Mathew, T. (2002). Biotechnology in defence (Review Paper). Defence Science Journal, 51(4), 393-399.
Special Issue Papers