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12.09.2004

Cold Turkey

Yes, I've cut myself off from reading The Nation. It's an experiment. My time is finite, and I had been spending far too much of it at the same website. So what am I doing with my time? Well, I've apparently become a biotechnology blogger. Not my intention.

But this Slate article by Wm. Saletan helped fill in some of the details of the Ponnuru piece I linked earlier. In fact, having read it, I'm less inclined to agree with Ponnuru. The scary graf:
It sounds perfect, until you look up at the projection screen. Hurlbut has modeled his recipe on "aberrant products of fertilization" and teratomas, which, he explains, are "germ cell tumors that generate all three primary embryonic germ layers as well as more advanced cells and tissues, including partial limb and organ primordia." Limb and organ primordia? Yep, that's what's on the screen: a ball of tissue, grown inside some poor creature, full of bits and pieces of what would have been a body. Another slide shows an X-ray image of somebody's back. To the left of the spine, you can see a cluster of white spots that look like teeth. And that's exactly what they are, all dressed up and no place to chomp. You wanted disorganized development? You got it.
Gilbert Meilaender, linked in this space yesterday, also worries about the consequences of the technology, mainly as the potential top of a slippery slope. Like I said, I'm predisposed to agree with Ponnuru, so we'll see what he writes tomorrow.

-D. Brown

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