Federation of American Scientists Case Studies in Dual Use Biological Research Module 4.0: Mousepox Case Study
Topic: Implications and Public Reaction Subtopic: Media Storm

According to Dr. Jackson, media inquiries followed two general themes; one that the research was inherently risky and should not have been done, the other a compliment that the scientific community was being open about controversial research results. Public antipathy toward animal experimentation for virus-mediated pest control apparently contributed to some of the negative reaction. CSIRO decided not to make any of its executives or researchers available for further interviews after the public scrutiny.

The biosecurity concerns completely overshadowed the original scientific objectives and the research was eventually terminated by CSIRO before its completion. While deemed promising at the time, experimentation using genetically modified mousepox virus as a means to produce sterility is not currently being pursued in Australia, although research with recombinant virus containing IL-4 in rabbits continues at CSIRO today.

Back Next
Topic History of Transgenics “Mousepox” Experiment Implications and Public Reaction Discussion References Home