The origin and utility of recombinant DNA, Paul Berg
Interviewee: Paul Berg. Paul Berg discusses the usefulness of recombinant DNA to isolate and study genes. (DNAi Location: Manipulation > Revolution > Players > Paul Berg > Why recombinant DNA is useful)
And that is the critical step, the recognition that you could take a complex mixture of a million different pieces of DNA and separate them physically one from another by putting them into a bacterial cell and allow the bacteria to amplify them. That's the origin of recombinant DNA, the real utility of recombinant DNA was the ability to cut pieces of DNA up with restriction enzymes, join them to a plasmid, put them into a bacterium and then separate the bacteria so you had different pieces of DNA.
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Paul Berg talks about why experiments with recombinant DNA set off a firestorm of controversy, including a moratorium on further experimentation with rDNA.
Paul Berg speaks about Herbert Boyer's research into the process by which an organism, such as a bacterium, can recognize and destroy foreign DNA.
Paul Berg speaks about his student Janet Mertz's experiment to make the first recombinant DNA molecule.
Paul Berg's student, Janet Mertz, planned an experiment that would recombine DNA from a monkey virus with DNA from a bacterium that lives in the human gut. Berg describes colleague Bob Pollack's outrage at this.
Paul Berg talks about possible dangers of recombinant DNA.
Paul Berg recollects his reaction to his colleague Bob Pollack's opposition to experimentation with recombinant DNA.
Robert Horsch explains the mechanism by which agrobacterium delivers its DNA "parcel."
Paul Berg talks about cohesive (sticky) ends and their significance in genetic engineering.
Genetic engineering: inserting new DNA into a plasmid vector.
In 1974, scientists in the field of recombinant DNA drafted a letter calling upon "scientists throughout the world" to suspend certain types of studies until hazards could be assessed. Paul Berg talks about the "Moratorium Letter."