John Fagan, Ph.D.,
is Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Molecular Biology at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, where he has received over $2.5 million in federal funding to conduct research on gene regulation and the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Prior to joining M.U.M. faculty in 1984, he worked for seven years at the National Cancer Institute as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a tenure-track scientist with his own research group. In November 1994, Dr. Fagan received international scientific and media attention when he formally returned $614,000 in grant money awarded him by the National Institutes of Health and withdrew grant proposals worth another $1.25 million due to his growing concerns about the applications of recombinant DNA research. He saw clearly that the only way his own research could be used in medicine would be to alter genetic material at the earliest stages of life, and he felt that there had been far too little study of the long-range effects of such genetic manipulations to justify these applications. His principled and courageous stance drew praise from scientists around the globe and created a new wave of discussion about the potential effects of genetic engineering. In this interview, Dr. Fagan provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of genetic engineering and its long-term implications.