Cantabrigians of all shapes, sizes and genetic make-ups came to see the pro-con booths on recombinant DNA research Saturday at the Mayor's Marketplace in Kendall Square.
The pro-DNA research booth swarmed with ten Harvard-MIT professors and graduate students, and about 200 people came to the booth, according to Karen Talmadge, a graduate student in Biochemistry.
In contrast, a sole member of Science for the People, Scott Thacher, stood guard at the anti-DNA research booth. He said no more than 100 interested passers-by stopped at his stand.
P-2, P-3, NIH
The "pro" side demonstrated pipetting techniques under p-2 safety conditions roughly similar to the p-3 standards the National Institutes of Health have established for recombinant DNA research.
According to researcher Talmadge, many of those who objected to the proposed research "were people who had medical gripes." She said those who "had problems with doctors" were concerned about what the scientists might do.
Helga B. Doty, a research associate in Chemistry and another member of the pro group, said some objected to DNA research "on strong religious grounds."
Both groups passed out literature at the booths sponsored by Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci. Vellucci said last week the booths were designed to educate the "man-in-the-streets."
With at most 300 people showing up to view the stands, the mayor has a long way to go to educate Cambridge's 100,000 residents.