Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology

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9780226701479: Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology
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Making PCR is the fascinating, behind-the-scenes account of the invention of one of the most significant biotech discoveries in our time—the polymerase chain reaction. Transforming the practice and potential of molecular biology, PCR extends scientists' ability to identify and manipulate genetic materials and accurately reproduces millions of copies of a given segment in a short period of time. It makes abundant what was once scarce—the genetic material required for experimentation.

Making PCR explores the culture of biotechnology as it emerged at Certus Corporation during the 1980s and focuses on its distinctive configuration of scientific, technical, social, economic, political, and legal elements, each of which had its own separate trajectory over the preceding decade. The book contains interviews with the remarkable cast of characters who made PCR, including Kary Mullin, the maverick who received the Nobel prize for "discovering" it, as well as the team of young scientists and the company's business leaders.

This book shows how a contingently assembled practice emerged, composed of distinctive subjects, the site where they worked, and the object they invented.

"Paul Rabinow paints a . . . picture of the process of discovery in Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology [and] teases out every possible detail. . . . Makes for an intriguing read that raises many questions about our understanding of the twisting process of discovery itself."—David Bradley, New Scientist

"Rabinow's book belongs to a burgeoning genre: ethnographic studies of what scientists actually do in the lab. . . . A bold move."—Daniel Zalewski, Lingua Franca

"[Making PCR is] exotic territory, biomedical research, explored. . . . Rabinow describes a dance: the immigration and repatriation of scientists to and from the academic and business worlds."—Nancy Maull, New York Times Book Review

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When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that new life forms could be patented, biology escaped the confines of academia; biotechnology companies have been multiplying like hothouse organisms ever since. The conjunction of scientific research and corporate profits has created much angst, not least among working scientists. Paul Rabinow, an anthropologist, decided to research not some Pacific island tribe but this new breed of scientists in their natural habitat--a hot new biotechnology company. He chose Cetus, a company that developed a procedure called the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, a method for replicating large amounts of DNA from tiny samples. His account of the benefits of the commercial approach to research, and of the conflicts over prestige and money, is well-balanced and original.

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Making PCR is the fascinating, behind-the-scenes account of the invention of one of the most significant biotech discoveries of our time - the polymerase chain reaction. Skillfully blending narrative description and interviews with all the major players, Paul Rabinow explores what it means to be a "scientist" today, the effects of doing science in the high-risk, high-reward environment of biotech, and what a scientific discovery or invention is at a time when it is possible to patent life itself. PCR has profoundly transformed the practices and potential of molecular biology by extending scientists' ability to identify and manipulate genetic material. It facilitates the identification of precise segments of DNA and accurately reproduces millions of copies of the given segment in a short period of time. In sum, Making PCR shows how a contingently assembled practice emerged, composed of distinctive subjects, the site in which they worked, and the object they invented.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. This is a behind-the-scenes account of the invention of one of the most significant biotechnological discoveries in our time - the polymerase chain reaction. Transforming the practice and potential of molecular biology, PCR extends scientists ability to identify and manipulate genetic materials and accurately reproduces millions of copies of a given segment in a short period of time. It makes abundant what was once scarce - the genetic material required for experimentation. This study explores the culture of biotechnology as it emerged at Cetus Corporation during the 1980s and focuses on its distinctive configuration of scientific, technical, social, economic, political, and legal elements, each of which had its own separate trajectory over the preceding decade. The book contains interviews with the cast of characters who made PCR, including Kary Mullin, the maverick who received the Nobel prize for discovering it, as well as the team of young scientists and the company s business leaders. This book shows how a contingently-assembled practice emerged, composed of distinctive subjects, the site where they worked, and the object they invented. Seller Inventory # AAC9780226701479

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. This is a behind-the-scenes account of the invention of one of the most significant biotechnological discoveries in our time - the polymerase chain reaction. Transforming the practice and potential of molecular biology, PCR extends scientists ability to identify and manipulate genetic materials and accurately reproduces millions of copies of a given segment in a short period of time. It makes abundant what was once scarce - the genetic material required for experimentation. This study explores the culture of biotechnology as it emerged at Cetus Corporation during the 1980s and focuses on its distinctive configuration of scientific, technical, social, economic, political, and legal elements, each of which had its own separate trajectory over the preceding decade. The book contains interviews with the cast of characters who made PCR, including Kary Mullin, the maverick who received the Nobel prize for discovering it, as well as the team of young scientists and the company s business leaders. This book shows how a contingently-assembled practice emerged, composed of distinctive subjects, the site where they worked, and the object they invented. Seller Inventory # AAC9780226701479

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