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Molecular Politics

Developing American and British Regulatory Policy for Genetic Engineering, 1972-1982

Molecular Politics

Developing American and British Regulatory Policy for Genetic Engineering, 1972-1982

The promise of genetic engineering in the early 1970s to profoundly reshape the living world activated a variety of social interests in its future promotion and control. With public safety, gene patents, and the future of genetic research at stake, a wide range of interest groups competed for control over this powerful new technology.

In this comparative study of the development of regulatory policy for genetic engineering in the United States and the United Kingdom, Susan Wright analyzes government responses to the struggles among corporations, scientists, universities, trade unions, and public interest groups over regulating this new field. Drawing on archival materials, government records, and interviews with industry executives, politicians, scientists, trade unionists, and others on both sides of the Atlantic, Molecular Politics provides a comprehensive account of a crucial set of policy decisions and explores their implications for the political economy of science.

By combining methods from political science and the history of science, Wright advances a provocative interpretation of the evolution of genetic engineering policy and makes a major contribution to science and public policy studies.

616 pages | 10 line drawings, 32 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Biological Sciences: Biochemistry

Political Science: Public Policy

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Exploring the Boundary between Politics and Science
1: Social Interests in Promoting and Controlling Science and Technology
1.1: Expansion of Government Support for Science, 1945 to the Late 1960s: The United States
1.2: Expansion of Government Support for Science, 1945 to the Late 1960s: The United Kingdom
1.3: Reassessing Science and Technology, 1965-1975
1.4: Deregulation and Selective Growth: 1970s and 1980s
1.5: The Shaping of American and British Science Policy
2: The Social Transformation of Recombinant DNA Technology, 1972-1982
2.1: Anticipations of Genetic Engineering, 1952-1970
2.2: The First Gene-Splicing Experiments, 1969-1973
2.3: Visions of a Commercial Future, 1974-1976
2.4: Genetic Engineering Enters the Business Arena, 1976-1979
2.5: The "Cloning Gold Rush," 1979-1982
2.6: A New Commercial Ethos
2.7: A Transformation of Interest
3: The Emergence and Definition of the Genetic Engineering Issue, 1972-1975
3.2: Social Interests in Genetic Engineering
3.3: Precedents
3.4: Emergence of the Recombinant DNA Issue, 1973-1974
3.5: Initiating Recombinant DNA Policy in the United States and the United Kingdom, 1972-1976
3.6: The Asilomar Conference, 24-27 February 1975
3.7: The Asilomar Legacy
4: Initiating Government Controls in the United States and the United Kingdom, 1975-1976
4.1: The Politics of the NIH Guidelines
4.2: Forming the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee
4.3: Developing the NIH Guidelines, 1975-1976
4.4: The Hearing before the Director’s Advisory Committee, February 1976
4.5: Promulgating the 1976 NIH Guidelines: Industry and the Public Enter the Policy Debate
4.6: The Politics of Genetic Engineering in the United Kingdom
4.7: The Williams Committee and the Formation of British Policy
4.8: Forming the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Group
4.9: The American and British Policy Paradigms: Variations on the Asilomar Legacy
5: Defusing the Controversy: The Politics of Risk Assessment
5.1: The Spread of the Recombinant DNA Controversy
5.2: The Hazard Problem: A Case Study in the Closure of a Technical Controversy
5.3: The Meetings at Bethesda, Falmouth, and Ascot
5.4: Further Sources of "New Evidence"
5.5: The Politics of Risk Assessment
5.6: Dissemination/Legitimation
6: Derailing Legislation, 1977-1978
6.1: The Politics of Government Control of Recombinant DNA Technology
6.2: Biomedical Research as an "Affected Industry"
6.3: The Rise and Fall of Recombinant DNA Legislation
6.4: The Political Impact of the Legislative Defeat
7: Revising the National Institutes of Health Controls, 1977-1978
7.1: The Social and Political Setting
7.2: Revisions Proposed, 1977
7.3: The Director’s Advisory Committee Meeting, December 1977
7.4: The Position of Private Industry, December 1977
7.5: Cloning Viral DNA: The Original Problem Reassessed
7.6: Making the Changes: Initiating a Policy Reversal
7.7: Revisions Released, December 1978
8: Operating the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Group, 1977-1978
8.1: The Social and Political Setting
8.2: The Politics of GMAG
8.3: Implementing the Williams Proposals, 1977
8.4: Developing the Brenner Scheme, 1977-1978
9: Dismantling the National Institutes of Health Controls: From Prevention to Crisis Intervention, 1979
9.1: The Social and Political Setting
9.2: Industry, Academe, and the Politics of the NIH Controls
9.3: The Status of the Hazards Debate
9.4: The Wye Meeting
9.5: The New Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee
9.6: The Rowe-Campbell Proposal: The First Move toward Dismantling the NIH Controls
9.7: A Turn in Discourse and Policy
10: Dismantling the National Institutes of Health Controls but Preserving Quasi-regulation, 1980-

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