Booth, William. "Of Mice, Oncogenes, and Rifkin," Science 239 (22 January 1988), pp.

 

Booth, William. "Of Mice, Oncogenes, and Rifkin," Science 239 (22 January 1988), pp.
341-343.

Activist Jeremy Rifkin is suing NIH and HHS, seeking to prevent ongoing work on AIDS. He
argues that the work of Richard Axel on HeLa cells, and that of Malcolm Martin concerning
transgenic mice, is very dangerous. These experiments could go awry and all hell could break
loose. The worst case scenario reads like a grade B movie, and Rifkin admits it, but he also
argues that there may have been errors in the past, and that there are crazy terrorists in the world.
Even in a Biosafety Level 4 Lab, mistakes can happen. Mice do escape from cages.

This article discusses the work being done and the special precautions being taken, and reassures
readers that Rifkin is overconcerned. Booth writes that Rifkin's demand for an impact statement
is unnecessary.

Note that in this same issue, Rifkin's warnings are made credible when the AIDS virus appears to
have infected a lab worker. (See Barnes, pp. 348-349).