Science: DNA Research

Not so dangerous after all?

Scientists themselves sounded the first alarm when they began to fear that tampering with DNA, the basic molecule of life, might accidentally lead to the creation of new, uncontrollable strains of disease-carrying bacteria. Now most experts have decided they greatly overstated the dangers. But many laymen have remained frightened ever since research at Harvard designed to create new combinations of DNA in the bacterium Escherichia coli K12, or E. coli for short, stirred passionate debate last year (TIME cover, April 18). Last week, after long hearings, Congress...

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