A routine hearing turns explosive when a critic of the program finds himself under attack by a prominent senator
WASHINGTON - On the morning of July 11, in the rear of Room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, health policy analyst Robert Cook-Degan was pacing anxiously. It was supposed to be a routine hearing, a chance for officials from the government's Human Genome Project to explain to a very sympathetic audience how well two federal agencies - the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy - were working together on this first "big science" project in biology and what technological benefits might flow from mapping and sequencing the 3 billion base pairs that constitute the human genetic code.

But Cook-Degan, a former senior analyst at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment and a consultant to NIH's genome center, sensed trouble. Two of the witnesses - Harvard University...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?