What's Over the Biotechnological Horizon? R&D Trends in South Africa Civilian Biotechnology & Implications for Monitoring Future Dual Use Biotechnology Trends in the Developing World   [open pdf - 694KB]

"Over the past decade much of the nonproliferation efforts of the U.S. government aimed to prevent proliferation of technology and expertise from the former Soviet military-industrial complex. Potential biowarfare technology proliferation from developing countries received much less attention. This study addresses the gap by describing civilian biotechnology trends in South Africa that may be relevant for understanding dual use trends throughout the developing world. South Africa is a useful case to examine because it has first-world science and industrial sectors capable of producing world-class chemical and biotechnology research and development. South Africa also has a history of covert weapons development. South Africa initiated a sophisticated secret biological and chemical program called Project Coast over two decades ago. While all of South Africa's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs were terminated before the political transition in 1994, several biowarfare proliferation concerns remain. These concerns are related to questions about where former scientists are today and how are they making a living. There are also concerns about what exactly was produced under the auspices of Project Coast and where undeclared biowarfare agents may exist today. The study does not focus on these proliferation threats but rather on new types of proliferation issues that are likely to emerge from the biological revolution currently underway throughout the world. The current diffusion of biotechnology expertise, equipment and resources necessary to sophisticated biotechnology research and development throughout the developing world may create new dual use technologies and issues. The nature and extent of these problems are not yet understood. Emerging trends in the civilian research and development sectors of South Africa may provide some insights into wider global trends that may appear throughout the developing world as the current biological revolution progresses. The three-part report surveys recent civilian biotechnology trends in South Africa in order to better understand future dual use proliferation concerns in South Africa and other developing countries." Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.

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