This past August (2021), the Australia Group (AG) amended its Control List of Dual-Use Biological Equipment and Related Technology and Software to include software designed for certain kinds of nucleic acid assemblers and synthesizers** that is capable of designing and building functional genetic elements from digital sequence data. This new addition reflects a growing concern that commercial applications of nucleic acid synthesis may be abused to gain access to genetic material originating in sensitive toxins or agents, including for the purpose of producing biological weapons.
In general, Israel's dual use export control regime adopts into Israeli law control lists promulgated by the Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group and under the Chemical Weapons convention. In this context, as a result of the change, the new control item was adopted under the Import and Export Order (Control of Chemical, Biological and Nuclear-Sector Exports)-2004.
The adoption of this item was announced formally in November by the Ministry of Economy and Industry's Export Control Department (MOE), which administers Israel’s dual use export control regime. While the MOE has offered a grace period to industry in the past to allow it to study changes made to the dual use export control lists, no such period was offered here.
As background, the AG is a club of countries established in 1985 (following the use of chemical weapons in Iraq in 1984) that maintains lists of sensitive chemical and biological agents and related technology that are at risk of exploitation for nefarious purposes and whose export (according to the AG) should be controlled by national governments.