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The Paul Berg Papers

Letter from Maxine Singer and Dieter Soll to Philip Handler pdf (59,000 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Maxine Singer and Dieter Soll to Philip Handler
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (59,000 Bytes)
Date Supplied:
ca. 21 June 1973
Singer, Maxine
Soll, Dieter
Handler, Philip
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Original Repository: Stanford University Libraries. Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Paul Berg Papers
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
DNA, Recombinant
Exhibit Category:
Recombinant DNA Technologies and Researchers' Responsibilities, 1973-1980
Enclosed with:
Metadata Record Letter from Maxine Singer to participants in the 1973 Gordon Conference on Nucleic Acids (June 21, 1973) pdf (119,331 Bytes) transcript of pdf
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Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Dear Doctor Handler:
Several of the scientific reports presented at this year's Gordon Research Conference on Nucleic Acids (June 11-15, 1973, New Hampton, New Hampshire) indicated that we presently have the technical ability to join together, covalently, DNA molecules from diverse sources. Scientific developments over the past two years make it both reasonable and convenient to generate over overlapping sequence homologies between DNAs of, for example, bacteria and animal viruses. Such sequence homologies can then be used in order to combine the diverse molecules by Watson-Crick hydrogen bonding. Application of existing methods then permits covalent linkage of such molecules. In this way new kinds of viruses with biological activity of unpredictable nature may eventually be created.
Certain of these hybrid molecules are potentially hazardous to both laboratory workers and the public. This possibility was recognized and agreed upon by a majority of those attending the Conference, who voted to communicate their concern to you and to the President of the National Academy of Medicine (to whom this letter is also being sent). We suggest that the Academies establish a study committee of appropriate individuals to consider this problem and to recommend specific actions or guidelines should that seem necessary. Related problems such as the risks involved in current large-scale preparation of animal viruses might also be considered.
A list of participants in the Conference is attached for your interest.
Sincerely yours,
Maxine Singer
Dieter Soll
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