Responses to DARPA Statement

Annotated- full text of DARPA response 

General text response from authors 

2016 -2017 statements compared to 2018  (decide for yourself)

The primary motivation in 2016-2017 press releases was in routine agriculture ?  

Conferring gene editing capacities to viruses was a central part of DARPAs work plan ?  OR are HEGAAs even an aim of the insect allies program?



Even as the halfway point of the Insect Allies program approaches, DARPA has chosen not to publicly describe in its response to our Science article what is the basis of  their having concluded that a developmental pathway exists that circumvents the early proliferation of biological weapons (described by the black development path in the accompanying image). This is in addition to explaining in detail why their developmental plan is easier to develop than alternative paths (described by the red paths). As our Science article makes clear, this is central to justifying the wisdom of embarking on the development of HEGAAs, and many other types of GM viruses. 

Over the next five years, only a minority of anticipated CRISPR-inspired innovations will involve intentional environmental releases (see recent NAS report). HEGAAs, and some other GM viruses, have the property of an early-stage biological weapons proliferation risk that is not shared with most other proposed techniques (including avant-garde ones like gene drive). 

Choosing not to clearly address these obvious issues of global concern, as detailed in the Science article, makes their current model of develop first and explain later an especially unwise path, particularly for this insect-delivered program, that in many ways appears to be designed to get carried away.

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