Interviewee: Paul Berg.
Paul Berg's student, Janet Mertz, planned an experiment that would recombine DNA from a monkey virus with DNA from a bacterium that lives in the human gut. Berg describes colleague Bob Pollack's outrage at this.
(DNAi Location: Manipulation > Revolution > Players > Paul Berg > Outrage over recombinant DNA)
And she described our intent and success in creating the first recombinant and how we intended to use it. That seemed to have invoke a huge concern amongst the teacher in that course, named Bob Pollack. And Pollack told her he thought that was the most dangerous and outrageous experiment that anybody could possibly do. And shortly thereafter I got a telephone call from Bob, telling me the same thing, that he thought this was, asking me had I realized how dangerous an experiment this would be, that the idea of trying to put genes that were known to cause cancer in animals into a bacterium that inhabited the normal human intestinal tract.
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Renowned biologist and philosopher Robert Pollack reflects on his concern over the potential danger of Janet Mertz's experiment inserting a cancer-causing gene from a monkey virus into a bacterium that lives in humans.
In 1974, scientists in the field of recombinant DNA drafted a letter calling upon "scientists throughout the world" to suspend certain types of studies until hazards could be assessed. Paul Berg talks about the "Moratorium Letter."