Paul Berg, a renowned biochemist and early explorer of methods to transfer genetic material from one organism to another, a set of techniques which became known as recombinant DNA technology, has passed away at age 96. Berg’s role in developing ways to clone genes by recombinant DNA was honored with a 1980 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for inaugurating “a new age of biomedical promise.” Soon after developing recombinant DNA, Berg and colleagues called upon fellow scientists to explore practical and ethical concerns raised by the technology. This resulted in the 1975 Asilomar Conference, in which safety protocols and research rules were debated and codified. The guidelines developed at Asilomar became a model for future efforts to grapple with the unknown implications of exploring new frontiers in research.
Listen to Paul Berg discuss his work