The controversy: With recombinant DNA, scientists had the means to manipulate living things. But could there be a danger in "playing God?" While some were thrilled by the potential of these new techniques to combat genetic diseases such as cancer, others saw cause for alarm over the possibility of unleashing bacterial monsters.
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."