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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JULIETTE KAYYEM

The darker side of the bio industry

As the Bio International Convention begins here in Boston Monday, the most brilliant thinkers around the world will meet to discuss innovations in the life sciences, drug discovery, biofuels, and nanotechnology. Most of us will have no idea what the attendees at the largest global event for the biotechnology industry are talking about. The convention website highlights a head-spinning array of sessions about such topics as oligonucleotides-based therapeutics, engendering painful memories of attempts at AP Biology in high school.

Biological advancements have tremendous benefits to our health, energy supplies, and global food supplies. But there is a darker side to the bio-industry, and that involves both the capacity to cause harm and the need for medicine to treat us should that come to pass. So, as the really smart conventioneers present their goods in Chinese, Japanese, English, Spanish, and other languages, those of us on the outside have one simple request: When it comes to the public and the threats that we face, speak in a language that we can actually understand.

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