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Books, Journals, New Media
May 3, 2000

BiotechnologyFrench DNA: Trouble in Purgatory

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2000;283(17):2306. doi:10.1001/jama.283.17.2306-JBK0503-4-1

Paul Rabinow has written an ethnography of intimate workings of the Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain (CEPH). At the time of the account, Daniel Cohen was working to bring together the remarkable cell lines gathered from families throughout France with economic opportunities for large-scale research that were beyond the scope likely in French public or private funding arrangements.

Rabinow is interested in the issues of "how best to bring capital, morality, and knowledge into a productive and ethical relationship." The collaboration between the Association Française Contre les Myopathies (AFM) and CEPH is described by Rabinow as "a major novelty, a courageous and visionary act." The AFM was a new model of financing for scientific research, drawing on its roots in nonprofit voluntary agencies and "telethons" to generate funding, which was in turn used to contract industrial research in the public interest. Bertrand Barataud of AFM and Cohen collaborated in the design of Généthon, producing a first-generation integrated physical map of most of the human genome at the end of 1993.

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