The controversy over recombinant DNA research has brought one of the most important facets of biomedical research out into
the open. Although there are substantial benefits that may accrue from the research, there is also the possibility of enormous
costs, both short and long term.
The public is being asked to support this research both with its tax dollars and by being in the physical vicinity of the
recombinant DNA research laboratories.
Fortunately, some public inquiry has begun in the form of open hearings on the subject. These public hearings have been held
in Cambridge, New York City and San Diego, and have expressed deep concern over how and whether this research should be continued.
The public at large, however, is still in the dark concerning the relevant issues in the debate. The scientific jargon that
accompanies the discussion within the scientific community is, at best, confusing to non-scientists. There is an overwhelming
need for accurate, up-to-date information, with the issues clearly
presented in terms understandable to all of us. The public, government officials, and members of the Legislature are in need
of this information. Only with substantantive understanding of ill the issues will effective programs and regulations be
Public hearings are absolutely essential in this process of discussion and debate. The Scientists' Institute for Public
Information wholeheartedly supports the petition of the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council
for the conduct of public hearings on recombinant DNA research.