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Banbury Center

Classic Meetings

The Banbury Center has been the location of over 600 interesting and important meetings but some have had a particularly significant impact on science and/or the wider society. This section of the web site will feature a selection of these historically important meetings, including a description of the meeting, the program and list of participants, photographs and links to publications which resulted from the meetings.

Polymerase Chain Reaction
The polymerase chain reaction was but three years old at the time of the meeting and the details of the technique and its applications were still be explored. This meeting was particularly timely because the paper describing the use of Taq polymerase had been published at the beginning of 1988.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were many discussions of the use of gene therapy in human beings. That this was so is rather remarkable given that it  was before the advent of recombinant DNA and the isolation of any gene. The meeting was notable for the participation of Martin Cline who in early 1980 had carried out the first human gene therapy experiment using recombinant molecules. This experiment was not approved by the appropriate committees and Cline was severely censured. Just three months before this meeting, NIH revoked two of Cline’s grants. The meeting was also notable for being attended by no fewer than six then and future Nobel laureates.

Like other Banbury Center meetings, Patenting of Life Forms was particularly significant because it brought together patent attorneys familiar with patents in the physical sciences and leading experts in the still fledging field of recombinant DNA, to review and discuss the US Supreme Court decision that opened the gate to the development of the biotechnology industry.