Chapter 3 : The Gathering Storm 1975

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This chapter talks about NIH guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research. The author comprehends that within the technology lay the route to an understanding of human genetics and development that would be revolutionary. It seemed obvious that only further careful experimentation could determine whether the assumed hazards of recombinant DNA (rDNA) were real. The author had reread an essay on the DNA controversy and NIH’s dilemma with regard to a regulatory role. It defines the limitations of a scientist in a position of responsibility for an institution like NIH in coping with a major decision. NIH had the mass of scientific expertise, both in its intramural scientific staff and in its extramural grantees and their institutions, to cope with the technical details involved. In April, Senator Kennedy’s Health Subcommittee held a 1-day hearing on the theme of the relationship of science to a free society. Witnesses included Stanley Cohen and Donald Brown, who argued for retaining control of rDNA technology by the biomedical research community. The author feels that some critics would accuse him of having concluded from the start that there was no danger in rDNA experiments and that his only concern was to prevent panicky reactions from upsetting the resumption of the stalled procession.

Citation: Fredrickson D. 2001. The Gathering Storm 1975, p 44-59. In The Recombinant DNA Controversy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818029.ch3
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