The Department of Energy’s laboratories, including those managed by the National Nuclear Security
Administration, conduct research involving biological select agents and select agent materials (e.g.,
DNA or select agents and subunits of toxins derived from select agents). For example, the
laboratories are currently working to develop detection and response systems to improve
preparedness in the event of a domestic attack involving the use of a biological select agent as a
weapon of mass destruction. Biological select agents include about 40 viruses, bacteria, rickettsia,
fungi, and toxins whose transfer within the United States is controlled. This is because such agents
pose a substantial threat to public health and safety.