An introduction

If the Federal Register is involved, it’s going to be riveting!

I am a student of history, but I don’t profess to be a historian of the NIH Guidelines nor of biotech research in the United States. Although I do hope that if a history of this obscure topic is one day written that I will earn at least some mention for the work I’ve put in, on and off for twenty years, to preserve the public right to know about the research that it funds at American universities, research institutes and, sometimes, private companies.

The starting point is, really, a deal that was cut over a period of years in the mid to late 1970s between the US government, represented mainly by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and an assortment of leading biologists representing their disciplines. The deal was about how to govern the safety of genetic engineering experiments, which were starting to happen in earnest at the time.

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