Nicolas Rasmussen

Gene Jockeys

Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise

Johns Hopkins University Press 2014

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Nicolas Rasmussen‘s new book maps the intersection of biotechnology and the business world in the last decades of the twentieth century. Gene Jockeys: Life...

Nicolas Rasmussen‘s new book maps the intersection of biotechnology and the business world in the last decades of the twentieth century. Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) takes readers into the fascinating world of entrepreneur-biologists as they developed five of the first products of genetic engineering. Based on a documentary archive that includes oral history interviews and corporate documents resulting from patent litigation, Rasmussen’s book emphasizes the agency of the biologists in in driving the development of first-generation recombinant DNA drugs like insulin, human growth hormone, and interferon. After an introduction to the development of basic molecular biology in a Cold War context – and paying special attention to the ways that Kuhn’s notion of “normal science” helped shape the discipline – the ensuing chapters each present a case study that illustrates an important aspect of the history of biotech’s rise as manifest in laboratories, courtrooms, universities, freezers, markets, and the public arena. Gene Jockeys closes with a chapter that considers the policy lessons that can be taken from this story.

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