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October 5, 1994

Perilous Knowledge: The Human Genome Project and Its Implications

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1994;272(13):1076-1077. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520130118045

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Perilous Knowledge is a narrative of the origins of modern genetics research and the Human Genome Project written without too much technical jargon, which makes it accessible to the nonexpert, whether physician or interested nonprofessional. The author is not a geneticist but a particle physicist and science writer from Great Britain, who has put together a fascinating story of genetics research and politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wilkie retells the story of how Robert Sinsheimer tried to establish an Institute to Sequence the Human Genome at the University of California at Santa Cruz, how ultimately the Nobel laureate James Watson became involved in the project with the National Institutes of Health, and how the Department of Energy shifted from an emphasis on

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