Science Communication & Ethics

Church Scaremongering on Stem Cells

Injecting human DNA into a non-human egg is a “monstrous” undertaking, of “Frankenstein” proportions, according to the Catholic church. Next they’ll be telling us that The Earth is flat. These comments, delivered in an Easter sermon by a high-ranking Cardinal, are part of the Catholic church’s recent campaign against The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill,…

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On Animal Rights Activism

Creationism isn’t the only form of pseudoscience. One form that specifically targets biomedical, and especially pre-clinical, research is that of animal rights activism. Often resorting to terrorism, they are not above arson, home invasion, and vandalism. Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Animal Liberation Brigade (ALB) in Southern California and their…

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Defending A Giant

The problem with being the big kid in the playground is that there will always want to be someone who wants to bring you down. And in the playground of stem cells and cloning, few come bigger than Professor Sir Ian Wilmut. In recent years, Prof. Wilmut has been hounded through the courts and in…

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How Should We Customize Life?

The big biotech news of the week has been the successful construction of an artificial bacterial genome by J. Craig Venter et al., chemically assembled from scratch. While the genome is little more than a watermarked version of the wild bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium, it is now technologically feasible to construct custom genomes for bacteria of…

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Deserving of More Media Attention

It’s no secret that science journalism is, with a few notable exceptions, very lackluster in general. It seems to a lot of biologists whom I speak to that cell and molecular biology, genetics, and related fields, are especially underrepresented in the press. Yesterday, Alex vented a bit on this, reflecting on the capacity for wonder…

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What’s with Europe’s Opposition to GMOs?

Nature sends word that there’s a big showdown in Europe looming that could affect the long-term prospects for the cultivation of genetically modified crops on the continent. Specifically, environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said “that he plans to reject applications from Syngenta and Pioneer Hi-Bred International for approval to grow two transgenic strains of maize (corn),…

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