“From the point of view of aesthetic and intellectual elegance, it is a bad experiment. But it is nevertheless a big discovery...It proves that sequencing and synthesizing DNA give us all the tools we need to create new forms of life.”
—Theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson on the Venter synthetic biology paper in Science, quoted in Edge.org.
“The price we will pay for this huge amplification of our technological prowess is probably an equal and opposite vulnerability. Welcome to the fast lane, humanity.”
—Daniel C. Dennett, Tufts University philosopher on the Venter synthetic biology paper in Science, quoted in Edge.org.
“Empathy is a complicated emotion, even for mice. On seeing another in pain, a mouse will act as if it itself is also hurting—much more, though, if it knows the first mouse.”
“I understand the value of science but there is a cash constraint on what we can afford.”
—David Willetts in his first press briefing as the UK’s new Conservative minister for universities and science.
“No hope now remains for this species. It is another example of how human actions can have unforeseen consequences.”
—Birdlife International’s Leon Bennun on the recent extinction of Madagascar’s Alaotra grebe.
“I believe that man will destroy everything living on this planet, and I would like to preserve everything in the form of DNA. To have a DNA treasure house—I like the term ‘treasure house’ rather than ‘museum.’”
—Nobel Prize winning biologist Sydney Brenner, in My Life in Science.