Concept

Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA

Summary
The Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA was an influential conference organized by Paul Berg, Maxine Singer, and colleagues to discuss the potential biohazards and regulation of biotechnology, held in February 1975 at a conference center at Asilomar State Beach, California. A group of about 140 professionals (primarily biologists, but also including lawyers and physicians) participated in the conference to draw up voluntary guidelines to ensure the safety of recombinant DNA technology. The conference also placed scientific research more into the public domain, and can be seen as applying a version of the precautionary principle. The effects of these guidelines are still being felt through the biotechnology industry and the participation of the general public in scientific discourse. Due to potential safety hazards, scientists worldwide had halted experiments using recombinant DNA technology, which entailed combining DNAs from different organisms.
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