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Will Society Be Prepared?

Nirenberg understood the far-reaching implications of his work, which provided the foundation for genetics research ranging from gene therapies to Dolly the cloned sheep to the Human Genome Project. Once scientists could read the code, the possibilities for genetics research expanded and continue to amaze—but also frighten—the general public.

As Nirenberg wrote in 1967 in an article for Science magazine, “decisions concerning the application of this knowledge must ultimately be made by society, and only an informed society can make such decisions wisely.”