The National Science Advisory Board for Biiosecurity has defined “Gain of Function research of concern”, and research that falls into that category is more closely monitored
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE EVALUATION AND OVERSIGHT OF PROPOSED GAIN-OF- FUNCTION RESEARCH May 2016
See Appendix C for examples of reasearchg proposals that fall within the GOFROC criteria.
Recently, the phrase “gain-of-function research” has become synonymous with certain studies that enhance the ability of pathogens to cause disease. However, gain-of-function studies, as well as loss- of-function studies, are common in molecular microbiology and are essential to understanding molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases. Changes to the genome of an organism, whether naturally occurring or directed through experimental manipulations in the laboratory, can result in altered phenotypes, as biological functions are lost or gained. Investigators routinely conduct loss- and gain-of-function experiments to understand the complex nature of host-pathogen interactions that underlie transmission, infection, and pathogenesis.
The term “gain-of-function” is generally used to refer to changes resulting in the acquisition of new, or an enhancement of existing, biological phenotypes. This report further defines “gain-of- function research of concern” to describe the subset of studies that have been the subject of recent debate and have raised potential biosafety and biosecurity implications. These are gain-of- function studies with the potential to generate pathogens with pandemic potential in humans by exhibiting high transmissibility and high virulence. See Section 6 for a more rigorous description of GOF research of concern (GOFROC).
Rand has a nebulous, more paranoid definition, but that’s not a definition that controls, or can control US policy.