This essay analyzes the evolving controversy over the recent experimental mutation of H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu) to make it more easily transmissible among mammals. While the controversy has been cast as a debate between bioscience and biosecurity, or between openness and secrecy, it is better understood in terms of the fracture of a fragile alliance among virologists, public health experts, and biosecurity officials around the problem of pandemic preparedness.

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