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

By Stephen S. Hall

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 provides us a behind-the-scenes examine the 3 major teams at Harvard collage, the college of California-San Francisco, and a workforce of upstart scientists at Genentech, the 1st corporation dedicated to using genetic engineering within the production of prescribed drugs. whilst the dirt had settled, one scientist had gained a Nobel Prize, many others had develop into biotech's first millionaires, and the most important 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 contention among labs, the fateful conflict of egos inside labs, the invasion of academia via trade, the general public fears approximately genetic engineering, the specter of executive rules, and the last word triumph of recent biology--to supply us a superb 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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Extra resources for Invisible Frontiers: The Race to Synthesize a Human Gene

Sample text

T h e species of R N A that carried these instructions out to the cell became known as messenger R N A (or m R N A ) . This was the molecule that Gilbert and his colleagues tracked down; by 1 9 6 1 , Gilbert's first paper on messenger R N A appeared in the British journal Nature, and his R N A work was subsequently hailed for the elegance of its experimental approach. After that, there was no turning back. Gilbert began to spend more and more time—first evenings, then weekends, then holidays—in the Bio Labs.

Unbeknownst to Rosovsky, Hubbard had already contacted Barbara Ackermann, and the dispute was headed for still wider public exposure. T h e gathering in the dean's office was relatively small. Only two nontenured biology faculty members attended. Rosovsky expressed surprise at this, Hubbard recalls, going so far as to say, "It's very strange. " W h a t impressed W a l t e r Gilbert most, however, was the philosophical nature of the confrontation. After hearing arguments that recombinant D N A was a scientific unknown, possibly a dangerous unknown, Rosovsky finally turned to Hubbard and W a l d and said: " W h a t ?

T h e dispute also represented a traumatic break from a tradition of political solidarity in the Cambridge scientific community. During the political storms of the 1960s and 1970s, most scientists had shared liberal sentiments on a variety of causes. There was general unity in opposing the Vietnam W a r . Ptashne had paid a sympathetic visit to North Vietnam, and Meselson had been a major figure curtailing biological warfare testing. Suddenly colleagues and collaborators found themselves painfully in opposition.

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