Paul Berg: Recombinant DNA and Science Policy

Paul Berg tells Larry Goldstein how concerns about an early recombinant DNA experiment in his lab launched him into the science policy arena. He describes organizing the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA and promoting guidelines that aimed to ensure the safety of recombinant DNA technology. Both the guidelines and the meeting format continue to impact science policy today.

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About the Speaker

Paul Berg is Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. His early work led to an understanding of the role of tRNAs in protein synthesis. Berg was a pioneer in developing recombinant DNA techniques, work for which he shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Berg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the National Medal of Science and ASCB’s Public Service Award.

Larry Goldstein is Professor at UCSD and an HHMI Investigator. He is also a recipient of the ASCB Public Service Award.

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