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A DNA Summit: Let's Do It Right

A few months ago, I wrote of my concern about the lack of public debate and discussion on the social and ethical implications of biotechnology.1 More recently, I posed the argument for a revisitation to the National Academy of Sciences "Asilomar" conference in 1975, which, as its predecessor, would help outline the myths and realities of recombinant DNA research and truly establish a proactive debate on science policy. Unlike its predecessor, however, the new conference I am proposing would inc

George Davatelis

A few months ago, I wrote of my concern about the lack of public debate and discussion on the social and ethical implications of biotechnology.1 More recently, I posed the argument for a revisitation to the National Academy of Sciences "Asilomar" conference in 1975, which, as its predecessor, would help outline the myths and realities of recombinant DNA research and truly establish a proactive debate on science policy. Unlike its predecessor, however, the new conference I am proposing would include the lay public.2 I was somewhat heartened to learn of preliminary plans to coordinate a second Asilomar conference, although it appears that this conference would be an "invitational gathering meant to bring together the original Asilomar participants, as well as historians and other guests."3

As past is certainly prologue, I find it hard to believe that we are not learning from earlier miscalculations of public perception of...

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