U.S. Agencies Seek Balance In Biotechnology Rules

WASHINGTON-Government agencies, in their zeal to demonstrate support for biotechnology research, may have unintentionally complicated efforts to regulate the burgeoning field, according to federal officials. "We have opened up a complex regulatory world that need not have been," asserted David Kingsbury of the National Science Foundation. There is a growing "tendency to 'do' all of biology," he added, as conscientious regulators "examine things that have been going on for long periods of time. W

Jeffrey Fox
Oct 19, 1986

WASHINGTON-Government agencies, in their zeal to demonstrate support for biotechnology research, may have unintentionally complicated efforts to regulate the burgeoning field, according to federal officials.

"We have opened up a complex regulatory world that need not have been," asserted David Kingsbury of the National Science Foundation. There is a growing "tendency to 'do' all of biology," he added, as conscientious regulators "examine things that have been going on for long periods of time. We may have done ourselves some mischief."

Kingsbury, associate director for biological, behavioral and social sciences at the science foundation, also chairs the committee that is overseeing the federal effort to co ordinate biotechnology regulations and guidelines. He spoke during a one-day workshop last month on public funding of biotechnology research and training convened by the Office of Technology Assessment.

The various agencies involved in supporting biotechnology found themselves in a dilemma as interest in the subject...