Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in
respect, as we should, we must be alert to the equal
and opposite danger that public policy could itself
become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, 1961
of California, Berkeley
The audience was growing restive. Inside the darkened auditorium were some of the world's most eminent scientists, biotechnology's wealthiest entrepreneurs, the press, and invited guests. It was March 1999, and they had gathered to celebrate the first twenty-five years of biotechnology. The keynote speaker was the famous James D. Watson, who, along with Francis Crick, first described the double-helix structure of DNA.
Everyone wanted to hear Watson's reminiscences about the early years of molecular biology, but he was having problems getting started. He spent the first ten minutes of his speech trying to get a slide to focus. He kept ordering the technicians around and making lame jokes about Berkeley being a liberal arts school. Watson, who was then in his early seventies, began getting peevish.
Finally he moved on. But for the rest of the time he spoke, he had worked up a lather in his mouth that made him sound like
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Publication information: Book title: Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds. Contributors: Claire Hope Cummings - Author. Publisher: Beacon Press. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 2008. Page number: xi.
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