Decoding the Great Recombinant DNA Debate

The Gene-Splicing Wars: Reflections on the Recombinant DNA Controversy. Raymond A. Zilinskas and Burke K. Zimmerman, eds. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1986. 288 pages. $24.95. Recombinant DNA became part of the vocabulary of scientists and the public in the 1970s. During that decade a fierce debate—not a war— on the biological hazards of rDNA research raged. Many of the scientists involved view it as one of the most anguished and bitter controversies in modern science. Th

Ralph Wf Hardy
Mar 8, 1987
The Gene-Splicing Wars: Reflections on the Recombinant DNA Controversy. Raymond A. Zilinskas and Burke K. Zimmerman, eds. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1986. 288 pages. $24.95.


Recombinant DNA became part of the vocabulary of scientists and the public in the 1970s. During that decade a fierce debate—not a war— on the biological hazards of rDNA research raged. Many of the scientists involved view it as one of the most anguished and bitter controversies in modern science.

The rDNA debate was initiated by the molecular biologists leading the research, and within a year expanded to include the public. Fourteen key participants representing molecular biologists, government agencies, Congress, scientific societies, the media, and public policy reflect on the debate in The Gene-Splicing Wars. Well-known contributors include Donald Fredrickson, Zsolt Harsanyi, Harold Schmeck, and others. Their reflections provide not only an integrated personal record of the debate but, most importantly, a guide...