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French DNA


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About the Author

Paul Rabinow is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written and edited numerous books, including Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology and French Modern: Norms and Forms of the Social Environment, both published by the University of Chicago Press.


Rabinow has written an interesting book about the failed negotiations between a French genetics lab, the Centre d'tude du Polymorphisme Humain (CEPH) and Millennium, an American biotech company that wanted its family DNA data on diabetes and obesity. This book is not about the science of molecular biologyÄit's a look at how the different ethics of France and America affect the way people and politicians feel about the sanctity of DNA (and blood and organ transfusions). Historical ethical and philosophical discussions, which help explain the French position, are interspersed with a journal of the events Rabinow observed while he was in France in 1994 at the invitation of Daniel Cohen of the CEPH. Rabinow (anthropology, Univ. of California, Berkeley) is the author of French Modern: Norms and Forms of the Social Environment and Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology. Recommended for ethics and biotechnology collections.ÄMargaret Henderson, Cold Spring Harbor Academics, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"Can a country claim to have its own genetic material?... Rabinow demonstrates that the answer to this question is far from simple.... The wide variety of subjects that he treats guarantees the interest of a large group of readers: students, researchers, scientific managers from academic institutions as well as from industry, politicians, and interested laymen." - Wilhelm Ansorge, Science "A fast-paced story of personalities and research organizations, interspersed with chapters delving into French history and politics to analyse how past events influenced current thinking and decision making.... The author has done an excellent job of marrying presentation of 'news events,' science, and philosophical analysis, and a book such as this is valuable for its cross-disciplinary insights." - Clare Robinson, Endeavour "Rabinow's book introduces a dramatis personae that could fill the pages of a bio-tech corporate thriller." - Gary Lachman, Times Literary Supplement

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