Talk:Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA

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Class review[edit]

Peer review by Blake - Your introduction was very concise, however if it is possible a little more information in the introduction might be helpful in order to provide your reader with a greater understanding of the topic in a condensed form. Under the section of Experimental design, it might be important to note the impact of this experiment as well as its importance. I like the general progression of the different arguments posed throughout the Asilomar Conference, as it makes it much easier to understand the varying viewpoints. Regarding the regulations of scientific experimentation involving bacteriophages, plasmids, prokaryotes and animal viruses, what impact did this have on experimentation and are there any specific examples of experiments carried out in this fashion that uphled the regulations of the Asilomar Conference? What problems were raised as certain scientists did not conform to such strict regulations? As well, I think it might be important to explain a little more regarding other experiments that were forbidden in conjunction with experimental regulation. In comparison to the elaboration on the other aspects, this last point seems to be cut a little short.

Peer review by Bryan -- I went ahead and changed a date that had to many numbers in it. I am assuming that you ment to type 1973 instead of 19753. Please feel free to correct this if I have changed it to the wrong year. You gave one example, with the SV40 virus, of the ways recumbant DNA research might be dangerous. Were there others? A breif listing with a quick destription may help to demonstrate why the conference was so important. You listed the hoc committe. What is that? a brief description of that or a link could be helpful in the readers comprehension of the history of the conference. Very nice detail in the history of the conference. You wrote what was eventually decided by the conference, but was there any opposition to the regulations set forth? I don't know, but if there were you might want to give an example.

Peer review by Maya: you did a good job dividing up or topic into different subjects. Your introduction could be more concise and informative by switiching the first and seconds paragraphs, so it reads something like "The Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA took place in 1975 and was organized by leading researchers such as Paul Berg.[2] Before the conference, scientists worldwide had halted experiments using recombinant DNA technology." and then you could briefly explain the events that lead up to its creation, and end with "The conference was significant because it established the guidelines for conducting research with recombinant DNA technology and it placed science more into the public domain.After the establishment of the guidelines during the conference, scientists continued with their research, which increased fundamental knowledge about biology and the public’s interest in biomedical research." I would also suggest breaking down the "Asilomar Conference" into to sub-categories (maybe "topics discussed" and "agreements made" ) to make it easier to follow.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:19, 7 December 2006‎

Don Fredrickson[edit]

This article is not complete without some mention of Donald S. Fredrickson, the head of the NIH. JFW | T@lk 23:25, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Capitalization of article title[edit]

Is there any reason why Conference and Recombinant are capitalized? If not, it should be moved. -- Y not? 12:24, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Poor Scholarship[edit]

This article typifies a sort of apologism/permissivism in regards to biotechnology which I find rather dangerous. Really this comes as no surprise: the Barinaga citation makes it all seem rather appropriate; indeed, Barinaga tends to gloss over the controversiality of biotechnology, herself. In particular, the author cites a number of sources erroneously, in effect diminishing the controversial (and potentially deleterious) nature of much of the research discussed at Asilomar. Reading the article I was stunned to discover a litany of references to Susan Wright; though her work is indeed essential to any historical treatment of biotechnology, the way in which the author cited her was highly misleading. Indeed, after studying under Wright I am certain that her views of Asilomar (and the surrounding events) are much more critical than the author presents. Interestingly, the author cites her lesser-read published essays rather than her book on the subject, 'Molecular Politics.' Such an approach seems vulnerable to claims of tendentious article-writing. Additionally, the fleeting reference to the "biotechnology industry" further glosses over the immense debate (and reprobation) surrounding such subjects. Sheldon Krimsky (who is conspicuously absent from this article, though he's written a good deal on the subject) deserves serious consideration in analyzing the controversy and ethicality of Asilomar and biotechnology in general.

Another notable omission from this article is Michael Rogers's primary source account of the conference, titled 'The Pandora's Box Congress.' Perhaps the author dismisses Roger's account simply because it was published in Rolling Stone magazine. This is a serious misjudgment. In fact, Rogers's account was so important (particularly given the exclusion of media at the Asilomar conference) that James Watson (yes, that same James Watson...) included a reprint of the article in his compendium of biotechnology's history, 'The DNA Story'.

In short, the article evinces the same sort of scientific hagiography which Barinaga is prone to without discussing much (if any!) of the dubious facets of the topic. BasilSeal (talk · contribs)

It's likely that no one will complain if you address your concerns and edit the article. David D. (Talk) 19:42, 11 May 2007 (UTC)


Would it be possible to list the speakers? I know only Harold Green that spoke there. It would be interesting for historical reason to list as many speakers as possible, after all this was a historic event, and there were many topics. (Green talked about liability and law suits due to biological damage and this negatively impacted the conference) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 14 February 2008 (UTC)