Genome Diversity Project, reply

Mike Lieber (U28550@UICVM.BITNET)
Fri, 3 Mar 1995 12:51:47 CST

Dr. Lawrence wrote on 3/3

> However,
> I object to the notion that there is a lack of political or ethical
> considerations amongst the researchers within these respective projects.

I never said that there was a lack of political or ethical considerations.
What is more ethical than trying to save human life and eliminate the
misery of pain and suffering? I thought I had made that clear enough. What
I said was that the researchers were naive about the political context in
which their plans would be received. This is not my opinion, but my
conclusion from media reports on Sforza's reaction to the hullabaloo. He and
his colleagues were caught by surprise by the vehement responses, particulaly
by indigenous people and social scientists. They never expected the project
to be politicized in the way it was. Had they done some prior consultation
with social scientists familiar with the current political climate "out
there," I suspect they would have been forewarned and could have proceeded
accordingly. At this point in the polemicized debate, however, any critique
of the project is a red flag that elicits a knee jerk response.
I had not considered the problem of unanticipated biological consequences
of gene replacement that you point out. I assume that this is a current issue
of discussion among geneticists. Could you expand on this and let the rest
of us know what's going on?

Mike Lieber