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ID 15258

Government restrictions on working with recombinant DNA, Walter Gilbert

Description:
Interviewee: Walter Gilbert. In the late 1970s, there was a moratorium on recombinant DNA work. Gilbert had to go to England's Porton Down facility to try and isolate human insulin. (DNAi Location: Manipulation > Production > Players > Walter Gilbert > Insulin and the moratorium)
Transcript:
When we turned to trying to make human insulin, then we had to use much more severe restrictions, I took a group of students and post-docs, went to England, we flew over with all of our materials in ways you couldn't do today actually 'cause the planes wouldn't let you carry these research materials, flew to England, rented a car and went to Porton with a complete, essentially a laboratory in a kit, and worked at Porton Down which was the British germ warfare establishment, where we could get access to what are called P-4 laboratories, laboratories in which you totally change your clothes, shower in, shower out, have gas masks available so that if the alarm goes off you can sterilize the entire laboratory. We worked in that laboratory for a month to try to make human insulin in bacteria and we were unsuccessful.
Keywords:
recombinant dna work,porton down,human insulin,germ warfare,walter gilbert,gas masks,post docs,government restrictions,dnai,interviewee,research materials,moratorium,bacteria,manipulation,planes,1970s,clothes,england
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Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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