Chapter 12 : Molecular Agents

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Molecular agents are some of the most challenging types of agents encountered in biosafety in terms of assessing risk and determining the appropriate containment levels. Molecular agents are often found on the cutting edge of science. As such, there are many unknowns, and they do not fit into discrete risk group categories. This chapter discusses some of the major categories of molecular agents that may be encountered in biological safety. Various types of nucleic acids are described, including recombinant, nonrecombinant, oncogenic, and pathogenic DNA. Synthetic, naked, and free nucleic acids are also discussed. Gene transfer techniques are mentioned, and a review of RNA technologies is provided, including a discussion of different types of RNA interference, such as small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA). Innovative molecular tools for genome editing and cancer immunotherapy are described, namely zinc finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), meganucleases, clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs), chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), and engineered T-cell receptors (TCRs). Nanotechnology and how this new field relates to biosafety are discussed. Finally, a review of biosafety issues related to prion diseases is given. For each of the topics, a general description of the technology is provided and biosafety considerations for risk assessment and containment are presented.

Citation: Wooley D. 2017. Molecular Agents, p 269-283. In Wooley D, Byers K (ed), Biological Safety: Principles and Practices, Fifth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819637.ch12
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Table 1.

Citation: Wooley D. 2017. Molecular Agents, p 269-283. In Wooley D, Byers K (ed), Biological Safety: Principles and Practices, Fifth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819637.ch12

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