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Biosecurity: Synthetic Nucleic Acid Sequencing

Initiate an effort to engage with industry and relevant stakeholders, to develop and refine guidance for possible use by synthetic nucleic acid sequence providers (EO) Sec. 4.4(b)(ii))

NIST, Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) to develop safety tools for synthetic biology to defend against potential misuse of AI. Read announcement

NIST is assigned responsibility for engaging with industry and relevant stakeholders to initiate an effort to develop and refine several guidance documents for possible use by synthetic nucleic acid sequence providers. These include: 

  • Specifications for effective nucleic acid synthesis procurement screening
  • Best practices, including security and access controls, for managing sequence-of-concern databases to support such screening
  • Technical implementation guides for effective screening
  • Conformity assessment best practices and mechanisms

NIST announced on February 16, 2024, that it has entered into a two-year cooperative research agreement with the nonprofit Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) to develop screening and safety tools to defend against the potential misuse of AI related to nucleic acid synthesis. NIST will work with the EBRC to identify best practices and policies to ensure public safety. Read the announcement


Created December 21, 2023, Updated February 16, 2024