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Microbes by the ton: Officials see weapons threat as North Korea gains biotech expertise

By December 10, 2017 June 29th, 2021 No Comments

AMPLYFI’s research is featured in The Washington Post.

The project was the most dramatic example of what private researchers describe as a surge of interest by North Koreans in genetic engineering and other biotech disciplines. Earlier this year, the Welsh artificial intelligence firm Amplyfi conducted a search of the “deep Web” — the parts of the Internet invisible to the public — for evidence of North Korean interest in biodefense topics. The company’s DataVoyant search tool produced hundreds of thousands of hits and showed a spike in interest in such terms as “gene expression” and “nucleic acid sequence,” beginning two years ago.

“Every continent is represented,” Amplyfi co-founder Chris Ganje said in a phone interview from the company’s headquarters in Cardiff, Wales. He said the search turned up “worrying indicators of unintended support,” adding: “It is obvious that the international community and larger institutions need to be cautious in providing seemingly benign academic scientific education and training to North Korea.”

Originally by Joby Warrick for The Washington Post, read the full article here