HAU16008-06-6 - Going Outside Releases in the'80s from Witt...

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from: Witt, S. C. (1990) Chapter 3. Going outside: releases in the 80’s. In BriefBook, Biotechnology, Microbes and the Environment, pp. 43-62. San Francisco. Center for Science Information. FIVE-YEAR FREEZE-OUT i 1982 Dr. Steven Lindow, a plant pathologist at the University of California at Berkeley, uses biotech "scissors," chemicals called restriction enzymes, to snip the gene responsible for ice formation out of Pseudomonas syringae. These "ice minus" bacteria, it is hoped, will outcompete "ice plus" bacteria for space on plant leaves and thus prevent frost formation and damage. August: Lindow asks NIH to let him test his genetically engineered ice minus bacteria outside. Dr. Trevor Suslow of Advanced Genetic Sciences (AGS), a friend of Dr. Lindow, asks to test Frostban outside to determine its commercial potential for AGS. 1983 NIH unanimously approves Lindow's release request. September: Jeremy Rifkin of the Foundation on Economic Trends sues to stop Lindow's release, claiming the United States doesn't have adequate regulations to review deliber- ate releases of any organisms. The court found for Rifkin. 1984 U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica - the famed "maxi- mum John" from Watergate hearings - blocks release because NIH failed to properly review potential environ- mental impacts of Lindow's federally funded research.
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