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
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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.