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Invisible Frontiers:
The Race to Synthesize a Human Gene

by Stephen Hall

ISBN 0195151593 / 9780195151596 / 0-19-515159-3
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

From the spring of 1976 to the fall of 1978, three laboratories competed in a feverish race to clone a human gene for the first time, a feat that ultimately produced the world's first genetically engineered drug--the life-sustaining hormone insulin. Invisible Frontiers gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the three main groups at Harvard University, the University of California-San Francisco, and a team of upstart scientists at Genentech, the first company devoted to the use of genetic engineering in the creation of pharmaceuticals. When the dust had settled, one scientist had won a Nobel Prize, many others had become biotech's first millionaires, and the key technologies were in place that set the stage for the human genome project. Author Stephen Hall weaves together the scientific, social and political threads of this story--the fierce rivalry between labs, the fateful clash of egos within labs, the invasion of academia by commerce, the public fears about genetic engineering, the threat of government regulation, and the ultimate triumph of modern biology--to give us an outstanding tale of scientific research.
In this fast-paced, gripping narrative Hall captures the highlights--and high jinks--of one of the greatest eras in recent biological history: the discovery of recombinant DNA and the birth of biotechnology. [via]