Chapter 9 : The Revising of the Guidelines

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A core of the history of the NIH Guidelines is the story of their revision to modify the required experimental conditions and procedures. This daunting task for the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) and the director of NIH consisted of inching, through a gamut of public reviews, a series of new versions toward the desk of the HEW secretary, who must agree to the changes. Some were scientists who warned that the international playing field must be leveled by adjusting American rules that were considered oppressive. As these comments circulated, a meeting was held to provide an opportunity for American scientists to discuss with leaders in other countries the differences between the two sets of guidelines governing recombinant DNA research in the world. Illustrating that elite scientific leaders of recombinant DNA research in both worlds could find a way to common standards, the participants extensively examined the issues and definitions to create more uniform practices and equipment. The results were then discussed by the RAC, which moved that its substance be incorporated into the first revision of the Guidelines with a target date of publication in September 1977. The spectrum of these comments was very broad, but the single most mentioned subject of concern was rules involving experiments with K-12. Since the last meeting of the DAC in February 1976, far more laboratories around the world had been pursuing recombinant DNA experiments, and the absence of any projected hazards was becoming embarrassingly noticeable.

Citation: Fredrickson D. 2001. The Revising of the Guidelines, p 188-219. In The Recombinant DNA Controversy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818029.ch9
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