№ 321/2010 from Oct 26, 2010
In 1969 Professor Jon Beckwith was the first scientist who managed to clone a gene. At a press conference held at that time, he pointed out that it was now possible to manipulate genes. This was the beginning of the discussion on genetic engineering. Ever since, Beckwith has dealt with the ethical, social, and political implications of modern genetics and genome sciences. He was also a member of the Ethics Panel of the Human Genome Project of the U.S. government.
In his presentation Beckwith will explain how it happens that so many preliminary scientific theories, such as the inheritance of human intelligence, crime, or alleged gender-specific behaviors and skills, persist as “scientific truth” in public debate, although in many cases they have long been refuted scientifically.
The play A Number deals with human cloning as an extreme case of possible human biotechnologies and raises questions about human identity, the inheritance of complex human traits, and power and responsibility in family relationships. In the play a father has a new son cloned because he no longer gets along with his son. However, he is overtaken by his past, and the “original” and the clone are confronted with each other.
Prof. Dr. Regine Hengge, Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Biology,
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838–53119, Email: email@example.com