Lord Winston warns of the crisis facing science
For an hour
Lord Winston aired his growing concerns over the public's distrust of science.
"This fear of science", he said, "will stop societyís
progression, because progression depends upon scientific research and
advancements in technology."
expert was invited to speak in Leicesterís prestigious Haldane lecture
series, which aims to unite academic study with everyday public concerns.
His lecture to a packed audience was entitled
Manipulating Reproduction and Playing God.
Lord Winston, the publicís fear surrounding subjects like nuclear waste
disposal, the future of nuclear power, foot and mouth disease, MMR triple
vaccine, GM crops and embryonic stem cell research are paralysing scientific
research. He said, "ethical
answers to these problems have to change according to our changing
understanding of the natural world." To
gain understanding, research must be carried out.
emphasised the controversy over GM crops, saying anti-GM protesters who
dismiss this area of research and spread fear are doing great harm to
humanity. "People show
little understanding of what genetic modification really means, and by
sabotaging the research they also sabotage the possibility of increased food
production in starving third world countries."
cloning, he said it will never become a reality because of the increased risk
of fetal death and neonatal mortality shown by the Dolly the Sheep experiment.
Despite the bad
image that transgenic technology has, it can in fact do much good.
Lord Winstonís own research into transgenic technology could help
males who risk infertility when they undergo X-ray treatment, since this kills
sperm. He has successfully implanted
cells that produce male sperm into another maleís testes, so that the
surrogate male produces sperm with the donorís genes.
Last updated: 18 November 2003 15:00
Created by: Barbara Whiteman
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