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

By Eric J. Vettel

The probably limitless achieve of robust biotechnologies and the attendant development of the multibillion-dollar have raised tricky questions on the medical discoveries, political assumptions, and cultural styles that gave upward push to for-profit organic learn. Given such outstanding stakes, a historical past of the industrial biotechnology needs to inquire a long way past the predictable awareness to scientists, discovery, and company revenues. It needs to pursue how whatever so advanced because the biotechnology was once born, poised to turn into either a leading edge 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 study. it's a tale in regards to the meteoric upward thrust of presidency help for medical study through the chilly battle, approximately activists and pupil protesters within the Vietnam period urgent for a brand new goal in technology, approximately politicians growing coverage that alters the process technology, and in addition in regards to the liberate of robust entrepreneurial energies in universities and in enterprise capital that few discovered existed. such a lot of all, it's a tale approximately people—not simply biologists but additionally fans and competitors who knew not anything in regards to the organic sciences but cared deeply approximately how organic learn was once performed and the way the ensuing wisdom used to be used.Vettel weaves jointly those tales to demonstrate how the biotechnology was once born within the San Francisco Bay zone, studying the anomalies, ironies, and paradoxes that contributed to its upward push. Culled from oral histories, collage documents, and personal company information, together with Cetus, the world's first biotechnology corporation, this compelling historical past indicates how a cultural and political revolution within the Nineteen Sixties ended in a brand new clinical order: the sensible software of organic wisdom supported by way of inner most traders watching for ecocnomic returns eclipsed easy learn supported by means of govt businesses.

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Whether Stanley could contain and channel potentially disruptive practical interests, or whether his vision of a free-standing biochemistry laboratory dedicated to pure virology research would bow to them, nagged at many in the BVL. In this unstable, bipolar world, two staffing decisions in particular suggest the lengths to which Stanley would go to liberate his laboratory of the corrupting influence of applied research. The first was a quiet and unassuming immigrant from communist China, Choh Hao Li.

46 28 Chapter 2 That policy officials saw a relationship between popular concerns— educating children, national security, and curing cancer—and the BVL symbolizes this period as a golden age for the biological sciences. Even though the laws of limited resources clearly state that a disproportionate commitment to a narrow scientific topic can work at crosspurposes, more than one Bay Area newspaper celebrated unhesitatingly that "history's most concentrated attack on virus diseases—one of man's deadliest enemies—will get underway ...

However, peer-review boards in federal agencies such as the NSF sidestepped the messy controversy of loyalty by granting award money to the applicant's university for distribution, which effectively made university administrators responsible for the award, background checks, and 22 Chapter 2 oversight. 34 From this hurried, chaotic, initially defensive, and ultimately compromised "national pressure" for greater scientific output came policy that generated an explosion of federal programs. But the creation of a more productive scientific community was not simply a matter of asking researchers to spend more time in the laboratory.

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