Read e-book online Invisible Frontiers: The Race to Synthesize a Human Gene PDF

By Stephen S. Hall

ISBN-10: 0871131471

ISBN-13: 9780871131478

From the spring of 1976 to the autumn of 1978, 3 laboratories competed in a feverish race to clone a human gene for the 1st time, a feat that finally produced the world's first genetically engineered drug--the life-sustaining hormone insulin. Invisible Frontiers offers us a behind-the-scenes examine the 3 major teams at Harvard college, the college of California-San Francisco, and a crew of upstart scientists at Genentech, the 1st corporation dedicated to using genetic engineering within the production of prescription drugs. whilst the dirt had settled, one scientist had received a Nobel Prize, many others had turn into biotech's first millionaires, and the major applied sciences have been in position that set the degree for the human genome undertaking. writer Stephen corridor weaves jointly the medical, social and political threads of this story--the fierce competition among labs, the fateful conflict of egos inside labs, the invasion of academia through trade, the general public fears approximately genetic engineering, the specter of executive legislation, and the last word triumph of recent biology--to supply us a very good story of clinical research.
during this fast paced, gripping narrative corridor captures the highlights--and excessive jinks--of one of many maximum eras in fresh organic heritage: the invention of recombinant DNA and the start of biotechnology

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T h e scientific community had become sensitized to (not to say traumatized by) the issue of recombinant D N A several years earlier, when the safety of that type of research had first been questioned. In a series of events that have been well documented elsewhere (see John Lear's Recombinant DNA: The Untold Story, gers's Biohazard, or Nicholas Wade's The Michael Ro- Ultimate Experiment for lively accounts), scientists brought these concerns to public attention in 1973, shortly after the pioneering gene-splicing experiments in California by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen were reported that summer at sessions of the Gordon Conference in New Hampshire.

Some guy plodding away doesn't realize how important the problem is and doesn't know how to do it right, and somebody else jumps in and does it. " Recombinant D N A encouraged that kind of opportunism. It was as if the microscope had been reinvented. Everything had to be reexamined, and the molecular biologists roared like Huns through other scientists' turf, gathering key data and materials necessary for this new look at the world; to the traditionalists, it sometimes felt like the intellectual sacking of endocrinology, say, or hematology.

How long would it take? Optimists boasted that it could be done in two years; others predicted ten years of toil. It was one of those risky moments, in short, where scientists had to decide if the technology was ready, the project feasible, the problem soluble. * 20 "The Most Consequential Event of 1975" Revolutions are inevitably upsetting as well as exciting, and the Lilly meeting in a larger sense symbolized all the sociological turmoil that recombinant D N A brought to the biological sciences in the mid-1970s.

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Invisible Frontiers: The Race to Synthesize a Human Gene by Stephen S. Hall

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