This year's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science attracted about 6,400 scientists, science journalists, and others to Boston Feb. 14-19. Topics of discussion ranged from bioterrorism to dinosaurs to ice cream to bird brains (www.aaas.org/meetings). Following are notes on just a few of the sessions.
Age-Old Dilemma: Genes vs. Environment
As neuroscientists strive toward unearthing the very roots of human emotion and thought, the ethical and legal ramifications could be enormous. One AAAS symposium organized by the editors of Neuron explored the potential "societal impact" for such research. Steven Hyman, former director of the National Institute for Mental Health, contrasted drug addiction with schizophrenia to illustrate the complex dynamics between genes and the environment, and emphasize the importance of a better public understanding of that interaction. While both conditions have environmental and genetic determinants, only the pathogenesis of addiction clearly depends on...
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