ITHACA, New York — Recently, scientists in California discovered a new strain of Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium responsible for the disease botulism. This discovery made national headlines because the scientists purposefully withheld publishing the bacteria’s genetic sequence. The new strain produces a type of deadly botulinum toxin for
The new strain produces a type of deadly botulinum toxin for which there is no antidote. For that reason, California scientists and public health officials decided to redact the bacteria’s sequence information to prevent it from falling into terrorist hands.