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The NIH established the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) on October 7, 1974 in response to public concerns regarding the safety of manipulating genetic material through the use of recombinant DNA techniques. Although the RAC's membership and responsibilities have evolved over time with scientific understanding and developments in this technology, it continues to serve the NIH, as well as the scientific and lay publics, as a critically important forum for open, public deliberation on the panoply of scientific, ethical, and legal issues raised by recombinant DNA technology and its basic and clinical research applications. Over the course of the Committee's existence, transparency and access have been its defining characteristics, enabling public acceptance of a critically important technology and creating an environment in which science can advance in an informed, safe, and ethical manner.
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