Development of the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research.
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Development of the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research.

  • Published Date:

    1983 Jul-Aug

  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 98(4):361-368
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Filetype[PDF-2.79 MB]

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    Public Health Rep
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  • Description:
    Recombinant DNA is a technique of major importance in basic biomedical research and, increasingly, in industrial applications. Although the risks of this research remain hypothetical, scientists working in the field have spearheaded discussions of safety. The original National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research were issued in June 1976. They assigned each type of recombinant DNA experiment a specific level of "physical containment" and of "biological containment." Responsibility for overseeing the application of the guidelines belongs to the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC)--composed of scientists and laymen, including non-voting representatives from many Federal agencies--and local institutional biosafety committees at each university where recombinant DNA research is conducted. The NIH guidelines were subsequently adopted by other Federal agencies, but congressional proposals aimed at extending the guidelines to private industry did not result in national legislation. Some States and localities regulate recombinant DNA research, however, and many private companies have voluntarily submitted information on their recombinant DNA work for RAC and NIH approval. The NIH guidelines underwent a major revision in December 1978 and have been revised approximately every 3 months since then. NIH supports experiments to assess recombinant DNA risks and publishes and updates a plan for a risk assessment program.
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