1. Japan may make human cloning a crime
Legislation that would criminalize human reproductive cloning
the creation of human-animal chimeras has been drafted by a
government agency. According to unidentified sources cited in
Japanese media, offenders could go to prison for 3 to 7 years.
2. Jeremy Rifkin's comments on proposed
moratorium on somatic gene
therapy trials using viral vectors
The death of 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger last fall in a gene
trial led to revelations of hundreds of adverse effects in other
trials that had not been reported to the proper US government
Some trials have been shut down, and Congressional hearings
For Rifkin's remarks, see <http://www.biotechcentury.org/breaking.html>.
3. Scandal over Iceland's plan for a
private gene database
In 1998, the Icelandic parliament approved a controversial
to create a genetic database on the country's population. In
of this year, it granted the biotech company deCODE an exclusive
license to the database for 12 years. Now Icelanders are up
because of new accusations that deCODE gave large donations
political parties while the bill granting deCODE exclusive rights
the database was being considered.
4. EU challenges patent on human cloning
In February, Greenpeace discovered and publicized that the
Patent Office had granted a patent that included human reproductive
cloning. The Patent Office immediately admitted a "mistake"
asked that a third party file a notice of opposition, which
allow it to revoke the patent. Greenpeace, hundreds of individuals
and organizations, and the German government did so. On March
the European Parliament voted 285 to 133 to oppose the illegal
and called for better control of the Patent Office.
5. Critique of the "basketball gene"
"A Feckless Quest for the Basketball Gene" is the
title of an op-ed
piece by UC Berkeley biological anthropologist Jonathan Marks
April 8, 2000 New York Times. Marks critiques the genetic reductionism
exemplified by a new book called "Taboo: Why Black Athletes
Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It" by Jon Entine.