Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry by Eric J. Vettel

By Eric J. Vettel

The possible limitless achieve of strong biotechnologies and the attendant progress of the multibillion-dollar have raised tricky questions about the medical discoveries, political assumptions, and cultural styles that gave upward thrust to for-profit organic learn. Given such outstanding stakes, a historical past of the economic biotechnology needs to inquire some distance past the predictable consciousness to scientists, discovery, and company revenues. It needs to pursue how whatever so advanced because the biotechnology used to be born, poised to turn into either a forefront for modern international capitalism and a focus for polemic moral debate.In Biotech, Eric J. Vettel chronicles the tale at the back of genetic engineering, recombinant DNA, cloning, and stem-cell learn. it's a tale in regards to the meteoric upward push of presidency help for clinical learn throughout the chilly battle, approximately activists and scholar protesters within the Vietnam period urgent for a brand new function in technology, approximately politicians developing coverage that alters the process technological know-how, and likewise in regards to the liberate of robust entrepreneurial energies in universities and in enterprise capital that few learned existed. so much of all, it's a tale approximately people—not simply biologists but in addition fans and competitors who knew not anything concerning the organic sciences but cared deeply approximately how organic examine was once performed and the way the ensuing wisdom was once used.Vettel weaves jointly those tales to demonstrate how the biotechnology used to be born within the San Francisco Bay zone, interpreting the anomalies, ironies, and paradoxes that contributed to its upward thrust. Culled from oral histories, collage files, and personal company information, together with Cetus, the world's first biotechnology corporation, this compelling background indicates how a cultural and political revolution within the Sixties ended in a brand new medical order: the sensible program of organic wisdom supported through inner most traders looking forward to ecocnomic returns eclipsed simple study supported via executive organizations.

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Extra resources for Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry (Politics and Culture in Modern America)

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That had already occurred in early 1946, when Chancellor Sproul embarked, however uncertain, on a mission to establish the biological sciences at Berkeley, and then recruited Wendell Stanley to lead that charge. Still, the commitment of the federal government to making policy that would support scientific research was a highly significant moment of a sort that biological scientists had not previously experienced. The government's sweeping commitment, providing funding for virtually any experimental project, established a powerful foundation and set the stage for phenomenal later growth that in turn led to even greater expansion of the field.

In 1946, the PHS granted forty-four extramural research contracts; by 1950, the NIH awarded 1,115 extramural grants, for a total of $11,508,841. Research fellowships for graduate students also grew from "a few tens of thousands of dollars" in 1948 to somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000 by 1952. Sometimes it was difficult to keep track of the change: in 1946, the number of NIH study sections increased from zero to twenty-one; the next year NIH officials estimated that around 250 to 300 study sections existed.

Furthermore, to encourage investigators to "voluntarily" accept federal money, sponsoring agencies relaxed overhead guidelines and accepted virtually any expense affiliated with work on war-related projects. Though critics found many instances in which individual researchers had abused the government's overly generous overhead policy—a charge that proponents did not deny—many federal officials accepted "abuse" as an unavoidable tax during wartime emergency. 28 No less necessary to the extension of national science agency beyond wartime, scientists required a strong foothold within government sponsoring agencies that would allow them to protect their cherished autonomy.

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