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DNA Panel Hears Advice, Ponders Goals

BIOHAZARD

By Erik J. Dahl

Members of a citizen's group authorized by the Cambridge City Council to oversee recombinant DNA research in the city last night heard suggestions from members of another citizens' group about how it should monitor the research.

Three members of last year's Experimentation Review Board recommended to the Cambridge Biohazards Committee that the committee conduct a broad review of the safety of all recombinant DNA research in Cambridge, and also suggest that it look into the safety of other forms of biological research.

The city council formed the Experimentation Review Board last year when it was weighing a ban on p-3 level recombinant DNA research.

The board recommended that the council allow the research to continue. The council voted to do so, but set up the Biohazards Committee to monitor all recombinant DNA experiments.

Because none of the Biohazards Committee members had served on the previous committee, Donald P. Dressler, chairman of the Biohazards Committee, last night asked former members of the Review Board for "guidance and help as to what our role should be."

Daniel J. Hayes, who was chairman of the Review Board, said he believes Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) officials are responsible for ensuring that recombinant DNA research at their institutions follow guidelines set forth last year by the National Institues of Health.

The job of the Biohazards Committee should be to keep in contact with researchers at Harvard and MIT, inspect laboratories conducting the research, and occasionally sit in on meetings of the universities' own biohazards committees, Hayes said.

In addition, the Biohazards Committee could recommend that the city council set up guidelines for research in other potentially dangerous areas, such as experiments with cancer and radiation, Hayes said.

Sheldon Krimsky, a member of last year's review board, said at last night's meeting, held at the Cambridge City Hospital, that he believes that Biohazards Committee should promote programs for training laboratory workers in safe techniques.

Krimsky also said the committee should develop ways for explaining to the public the issues involved in the research.

"People living in the environment of biological laboratories have a right to know what experiments are underway," Krimsky said

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