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Oxytocin Could Be Weaponized, Expert Warns

Malcolm Dando's op-ed piece in Nature this week has gotten attention for his warning that biologists seldom understand the military implications of their research.

Analee Newitz on io9 quotes Dando using oxytocin sprays as an example of this:

Some companies are already marketing oxytocin on the back of studies showing that a nasal squirt of the hormone increases trust in humans. Even though the effectiveness of commercial sprays is doubtful, such research opens up the possibility of a drug that could be used to manipulate people's emotions in a military context. Discussions with more than 2,000 practising life scientists in 13 countries over the past few years have taught me that few have considered such possible uses of their work.

Red Orbit has another article about Dando's op-ed.

In writing my book about oxytocin's role in human emotion, I spoke to most of the top oxytocin researchers. They were well aware about people's self-experimentation. Sue Carter of the University of Illinois said at that their clinic, which treats kids with autism spectrum disorder, many parents told her they'd tried over-the-counter oxytocin sprays, or else asked about it.

Awareness of the issue of self-dosing and entrepreneurial companies using biology research for profit and/or military weapons development isn't much use, of course. Biologists have to do the basic experimentation; the best way they can protect their research is to patent whatever they can.