Matthew’s new BBC show on recombinant DNA

July 20, 2021 • 9:30 am

I knew Matthew was writing a book on genetic engineering, and I knew he was doing a BBC radio series on the upcoming book, but I learned about the show’s first episode, now available, only from a tweet he emitted (below). You can access the 28-minute program, one of three, by clicking on the second screenshot.

Click to listen. This first part covers the advent of genetic engineering, and the huge controversy that took place when I was in graduate school. Did recombinant DNA pose serious dangers to the world. Would some engineered organism escape the lab and kill everyone? This didn’t prove to be the case, but at the time the science was at a very early stage.

6 thoughts on “Matthew’s new BBC show on recombinant DNA

  1. I remember vividly the press coverage of the Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA back in the 1970’s. Some real Frankenstein-type worries, there.

  2. I had read this story in the book Microcosm by Carl Zimmer. The program recorded here is even more detailed, with interesting examples of the rather spectacular fears that were sparked at the time, along with the rather obstinate opinions of others that they should be allowed to do whatever they want without oversight. Different times.

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