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French DNA Trouble in Purgatory

by Paul Rabinow

  • ISBN: 9780226701509
  • ISBN10: 0226701506

French DNA Trouble in Purgatory

by Paul Rabinow

  • List Price: $28.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780226701509
  • ISBN10: 0226701506
Description: Is there such a thing as "French DNA"? Can a country be said to have its own genetic material? When that country is France, as Paul Rabinow discovered, the answer to both questions is a startling "yes." In a story that involves nations, commerce, patients, and genetics, Rabinow uncovers the tangled relations and conceptions that govern modern medical research.

In 1993, an American biotechnology company, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and France's premier genetics lab, the Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humaine (CEPH), developed plans for a collaborative effort to discover diabetes genes. The results of this collaboration could have been medically significant and financially lucrative. The two companies had agreed that CEPH would supply Millennium with a store of genetic material collected from a large number of French families, and Millennium would supply funding and expertise in new technologies to accelerate the identification of the genes, terms to which the French government had agreed. But in early 1994, just as the collaboration was to begin, the French government called a halt to the deal. The government explained that the CEPH could not be permitted to give the Americans that most precious of substances -- never before named in such a manners -- French DNA.

Rabinow's brilliant exposition of the deal gone wrong illuminates those sites where genetics, bioethics, patient groups, venture capital, and the state meet. French DNA is about international competition, the future of human health, ferocious financial conflict, and the intersection of culture and science -- the place where, Finally, DNA became French.

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