In the midst of this summer's rancorous US House of Representatives debate over the legality of cloning, an exasperated Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) complained, "Mr. Speaker, we really should not be debating this at all. None of us is equipped to do so. We simply do not know enough." Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) agreed. "In my nine years in this chamber, this is the least informed collectively that the 435 members of this body have ever been on any issue." In the end, the July 31, 265-162 vote wasn't even close: no cloning of human cells for any purpose.1 Michael West, president and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology Inc., a small biotech company in Worcester, Mass., that uses cloning techniques to develop therapies, told the New York Times that the debate was "two hours of rampant misinformation."2

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), one of two physicists in Congress, believes...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?