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Chapter 4 : Extending the Seed of Power to the Public 1976

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Extending the Seed of Power to the Public 1976, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Five speakers were invited to explain the elements of research and the history of the Asilomar conference, along with the possible risks and benefits of the technology and the nature of the NIH Guidelines. The chair of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) would describe how the RAC had constructed them, and explanations of physical and biological containment would be offered. Maxine Singer summarized the Guidelines. She employed a number of charts during her explanation. Singer concluded emphatically that the inclusion of experiments involving organisms with genomes that had evolved over millennia, allowing them to express substances lethal for humans, was not to be sanctioned. The chief of the safety division of the National Cancer Institute was already emerging as one of the world’s premier authorities on the details of physical containment prescribed in the Guidelines. His presentation was introduced, and he answered multiple questions. The final two speakers of the morning were introduced as molecular biologists who represented bipolar attitudes on the severity of the guidelines. David Hogness’s experience included working with , a most virulent and pathogenic bacterium, under P2 conditions, and he had cloned and handled tens of thousands of recombinant DNA molecules from fruit flies in P2+EK1 conditions. Roy Curtiss described his current efforts and goals. There were also dissenting views to be heard. There were others who felt that the desire of the majority of molecular biologists to end the moratorium was a dangerous attitude.

Citation: Fredrickson D. 2001. Extending the Seed of Power to the Public 1976, p 60-79. In The Recombinant DNA Controversy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818029.ch4

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