A look at the controversial Human Genome Project recounts the struggle to launch the multi-billion-dollar, ten- to twenty-year project and relies on primary documents gathered as events unfolded to unravel the tangled scientific and political threads of the story.
The Human Genome Project, the most ambitious biological research program ever undertaken, was born in controversy. Heralded by its more enthusiastic proponents as a quest for the "Holy Grail of biology"—and the key, ultimately, to the treatment of a variety of hereditary diseases—it has as its initial goal the mapping of all the genes in the entire three-billion-letter genetic code embodied in the DNA of a typical human cell. A major factor in the counterarguments of its opponents: its projected cost, estimated to run into the billions of dollars, spread over 10-20 years.
In this firsthand account of the protracted struggle to launch the genome project, a close observer of that process—and sometime participant in it—unravels the tangled scientific and political threads of the story, relying on primary documents gathered even as events unfolded, supplemented by interviews with all the main actors—including the controversial first head of the National Institute James D. Watson. The result is an absorbing case study in the politics on a project with far-reaching medical and social implications.
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An insider's detailed look at the politics of Big Science, in this case the multibillion-dollar project to map all the genes in human DNA.| Read Full Review of The Gene Wars: Science, Polit...