Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry by Eric J. Vettel

By Eric J. Vettel

The likely limitless achieve of robust biotechnologies and the attendant progress of the multibillion-dollar have raised tricky questions about the medical discoveries, political assumptions, and cultural styles that gave upward thrust to for-profit organic study. Given such amazing stakes, a background of the economic biotechnology needs to inquire a long way past the predictable realization to scientists, discovery, and company revenues. It needs to pursue how whatever so advanced because the biotechnology was once born, poised to develop into either a forefront for modern global capitalism and a focus for polemic moral debate.In Biotech, Eric J. Vettel chronicles the tale at the back of genetic engineering, recombinant DNA, cloning, and stem-cell learn. it's a tale concerning the meteoric upward thrust of presidency aid for clinical study through the chilly conflict, approximately activists and pupil protesters within the Vietnam period urgent for a brand new goal in technology, approximately politicians developing coverage that alters the process technology, and likewise concerning the unlock of robust entrepreneurial energies in universities and in enterprise capital that few learned existed. such a lot of all, it's a tale approximately people—not simply biologists but additionally fans and rivals who knew not anything concerning the organic sciences but cared deeply approximately how organic examine was once performed and the way the ensuing wisdom used to be used.Vettel weaves jointly those tales to demonstrate how the biotechnology used to be born within the San Francisco Bay zone, analyzing the anomalies, ironies, and paradoxes that contributed to its upward push. Culled from oral histories, collage files, and personal company data, together with Cetus, the world's first biotechnology corporation, this compelling background exhibits how a cultural and political revolution within the Sixties ended in a brand new medical order: the sensible program of organic wisdom supported through deepest traders watching for ecocnomic returns eclipsed easy examine supported via executive companies.

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But Congress always complied. By 1950, federal expenditures on scientific research were growing at an average rate of 14 percent per year, more than three times the growth rate of the country's gross national product. Both houses of Congress established standing committees on science and space and immediately began budgeting almost $1 billion annually to promote "advancing scientific knowledge," with the Office of Naval Research, Department of Defense, and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) receiving almost one-half of that total.

Prevailing wisdom dismissed Avery's article, probably because it appeared in a clinical publication, the Journal of Experimental Medicine, and his awkward, reluctant observation—"it is, of course, quite possible that the biological activity of the . . nucleic acid is due to minute amounts of some other . . ]"— provided enough of an opening for contemporaries to doubt his full hypothesis about DNA. " A few scientists took Hershey's results seriously, but then found ways to incorporate his findings into the protein paradigm.

Or perhaps because they lacked sharply defined scientific standards, Rockefeller officials had little choice but to place greater emphasis on personal relationships as criteria in which to measure the worthiness of the BVL. 23 A Federal Policy for Bioscience Research As the 1940s came to a close, neither Berkeley, Stanford, nor UCSF had a notable research program in the biological sciences. Without a solid foundation and facing an uncertain future, biology at these three universities slept while the physical sciences and engineering struggled mightily with expanding faculties and explosive student enrollments, the chaos exemplified by the Quonset hutlike "portables" that were still scattered about the campuses and by the tents that served as temporary classrooms until more permanent facilities could be built.

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