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Human Genetics Alert http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~cahge/
Eugenics Watch http://www.eugenics-watch.com/
Artificial sperm: Haploidisation: Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago - research team leader: Yuri Verlinsky
Pro artificial sperm: Assisted Gynaecology Research Centre in London - Mohammed Taranissi
Right To Life - pressure group - Phyllis Bowman
History of Eugenics http://www.unclenicks.net/drugs/Eugenics/eugenics.htm
What's wrong with family planning? http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/Organizations/healthnet/SAsia/repro/rao3.html
Pro Life Alliance: Campaigning against human cloning http://www.prolife.org.uk/ - Josephine Quintavalle
Why stem cells need cloning... and similar pseudo-scientific nonsense http://www.humancloning.org
Frequently Asked Questions http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~cahge/faq.htm
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. is engaged in the research and development of technologies for the production of transgenic animals http://www.advancedcell.com/
Clonaid OVULAID® will give women and couples the possibility to choose their future babies from a catalog showing the pictures of the donor egg women http://www.clonaid.com/
Welcome to the Raelian Revolution (which involves cloning becoming 'normal'). This website contains all that you may wish to know about the raelian phenomenon, including the progress of the Embassy which we are building for Extra-terrestrials. http://www.rael.org/
The Roslin Institute near Edinburgh has pioneered methods for the genetic modification and cloning of farm animals. http://www.roslin.ac.uk/
Galton Institute (ex UK Eugenics Society) http://www.eugenics-watch.com/briteugen/
Behavioural Genetics Clinic - Outpatient clinic held at the Maudsley Hospital http://www.slam.nhs.uk/directory/depts/detail.asp?recordID=683
Robert Plomin: Promoter of Human Genetics and espouser of the theory of the 'gene for crime' etc. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/teares/researchProfiles/resPros_pub/rplominiopkclacuk.html
Promoting the right of women and men to decide freely the number and spacing of their children and the right to the highest possible level of sexual and reproductive health. http://www.ippf.org/
Criticism of the IPPF http://www.lifeissues.net/abortion/pri_03abortionforall1.html
FRANKENSTEINERS: The UK Medical Research Council continues to contribute to international research mapping and sequencing the human genome and those of 'model organisms' http://www.britishcouncil.org/science/science/organisation/gost/councils/mrc.htm
Nanotechnology - biomachines http://www.nanozine.com/
Biowarfare: The DNA Bomb - Eric Baard http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0120/baard.php
By Andrew Woodcock, PA News
27 January 2004
Plans for a new primate research centre have been dropped by Cambridge University, partly because of the expected cost of protecting it from animal rights activists, it was reported today.
The controversial laboratory has become a focus of the growing battle between researchers and anti-vivisectionists opposed to the use of monkeys for medical research.
The decision to scrap the development, funded by the University with the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council, was made after costs grew from £24 million to more than £32 million, reported BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
The centre was backed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has spoken passionately about the dangers of allowing scientific research to be impeded by activists.
The BBC quoted one university spokesman as saying: "We can't afford to build and run Fort Knox."
Planning permission for the lab was granted by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott after a hard- fought battle, but the animal rights groups Animal Aid and the National Anti-Vivisection Society have launched a High Court challenge to his decision.
Viruses and bacteria could be genetically engineered to evade the human immune system, to create a more effective biological weapon, a leading researcher into bio-weapons said yesterday.
In the past 30 years biotechnology has been revolutionised by molecular biology and genetic engineering. These techniques, used to control infectious diseases, can also be used to create more effective biological weapons.
Speaking at the conference on the future of weaponry, Professor Kathryn Nixdorff, of the University of Darmstadt, said that dangerous micro-organisms had already been produced inadvertently during attempts to modify vaccines and viruses.
Russian researchers had created a strain of anthrax bacilli capable of evading immune mechanisms: hamsters injected with the engineered strain were not protected by the usual anthrax vaccine.
Australian researchers trying to develop a vaccine to prevent pregnancy in mice stumbled upon a new and more virulent form of mousepox virus which inhibited the production of a class of lymphocytes needed to combat the infection.
Although humans were not susceptible to infection by mousepox virus there was concern that the human pox virus could be similarly manipulated to make it more deadly.
There were several ways in which modifying micro-organisms had potential military use. Bugs could be given a resistance to antibiotics, they could be made more resistant to the environment and thus longer lasting, and they could be made more lethal.
But she dismissed the suggestion that information gained from the sequencing of the human genome could be used to create a biological weapon specific to a particular racial or ethnic group.
"At present this seems unlikely for several reasons," she said. "It has been pointed out in several reports that races do not exist from a genetic perspective; there is generally more genetic variation within groups than between groups.
"Indeed, it has been suggested that a re-examination of the race concept is due."
There was concern that the genome sequence information could be misused. A research team was reported to have built the polio virus from sequence information publicly available, but this was a relatively simple virus and the feat could not be readily repeated with more complex ones.
By TheMarker.com Staff
05/12/2002 10:12 AM EDT
The Compagnie Financiere Edmond de Rothschild, of the Rothschild banking group, and the Pasteur Institute are wrapping up a $60 million financing round for biotechnology investments.
The fund, BioDiscovery 2, will target both European and Israeli biotechnology endeavors, Professor Max Herzberg told TheMarker today.
The first BioDiscovery fund had invested in three Israeli firms.
BioDiscovery Israel, run by Herzberg, is contending for the biotechnology incubator tender issued by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade. The tender is for the management of two biotechnology incubators.
Herzberg also chairs the Eager Biogroup incubator in Ashdod, and is a partner in running the Biotop biotechnology incubator of the Pasteur Institute in Paris together with Dr Christian Policard.
I spent the better part of last week hanging around with a group of people who are about to change the way we understand evolution, genetic inheritance, and cellular functions. The weird thing is, they don't seem to understand the magnitude of what they're doing. These people are called bioinformaticists, and they're a mixed bag of biologists, software developers, physicists, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs who are all working in the nexus between high tech and molecular biology. I met vast quantities of them at the O'Reilly Bioinformatics Technology Conference in Tucson, Arizon.
So what the hell is bioinformatics? For the most part, people at the conference agreed that the word describes an emerging field whose practitioners use computers to compile, analyze, and distribute the vast quantities of data coming out of labs devoted to creating maps of genomes. The tools of the trade are giant relational databases, software programs that can compare long strings of the letters representing nucleic acids, and visualization programs that represent genomic data using everything from bumps to colors.
Viewed from a sensational angle, bioinformaticians are genome hackers, the people who figure out the many ways in which genes translate their sequences into proteins and how those proteins create a living being out of microscopic cells. They're the ones who are discovering how closely related humans are, on a genomic level, to mice and yeast. And bioinformaticians are even working on cures for cancer.
But to the average bioinformatician, things are far from glamorous. She or he may be hacking the code of life, as it were, but when you start digging that deep into the body, what you're dealing with are strings of letters. You're in algorithm land, a world of abstract data. Confronted with color-coded graphs and strings of AGTC all day, it's hard to remember that what you're doing is hacking life itself.
One of the conference keynote speeches was delivered by Ewan Birney, whose renowned work at the European Bioinformatics Institute and contributions to the open source project Bioperl have made him a veritable poster boy for the emerging bioinformatics community. Eyes shining, Birney told a packed audience that "it's all about the data, just getting into the data and playing around with it." Bioinformaticists are data geeks, plain and simple. They're not trying to invent plants with feet or humans with fins. They just want to figure out the best way to comprehend the enormous amount of raw information contained in genomes.
And yet, it's undeniable that these data geeks are producing the knowledge infrastructure that will allow other people to start engineering brand-new genomes. You could say that bioinformaticians brought you genetically engineered crops in the same way that a peacenik named Einstein brought you the atomic bomb. Einstein never thought his pure research would be put to such heinous uses, but it was. And so will all that data being produced by bioinformaticians, who are in general a rather progressive and thoughtful bunch. Hardly the types to engineer the perfect super-being, if you know what I mean.
Perhaps what struck me most about hanging around with the bioinformaticists at the conference was their ability to talk about the "how" of genome hacking while rarely asking "why?" So you've discovered the perfect algorithm for looking at all the proteins produced by a given gene. Or you've used a fantastic Perl program written by super-genius Lincoln Stein to discover that earthworms and humans both have a gene that, when mutated, causes them to grow spots. Who will use that information and why? Nobody at the conference was asking those questions.
I don't mean to say that these data geeks were naive -- hardly. There were many spirited debates about whether universities should be allowed to sell their discoveries to industry. Lots of bioinformaticians are rightfully suspicious when somebody wants to commercialize their work, whether that person represents a company or a magazine like Science.
Despite their thoughtfulness about such issues, however, I rarely heard anyone worry about what would happen if his or her data were used for ill-advised or downright destructive purposes that might affect the lives of many species. Of course, it's difficult to know how to present your data in a way that ensures it will be used for social good. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth pondering.
What would Einstein have done if he had foreseen the possibility of atomic bombs? Maybe he would have become a gardener instead of a physicist.
Agence France Presse, 23 January 1999
LONDON, Jan 21 (AFP) - Advances in genetic research raise the possibility of biological weapons, available within 10 years, that would attack one ethnic group but leave others untouched, according to a report published Thursday.
Given the availability of bomb-making instructions and "recipes" on the Internet, the British Medical Association said, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972 needs "urgent" strengthening.
While "genetic weapons which target a particular ethnic group are not currently a practical possibility", the report concludes "it would be complacent to assume they could never be developed in the future".
The report "Biotechnology, weapons and humanity" by the BMA, which represents all Britain's doctors, predicted their existence within "five or 10 years" and warned of their attractiveness to terrorists.
"Scientific knowledge has been quickly exploited for weapons development in the past," said Vivienne Nathanson, of the BMA, adding she saw no reason why this trend would alter with genetics. The report explains that genetic research into humans leads almost every day to further understanding of the differences in disparate human groups.
Such differences were apparent in blood groups or varying resistence to disease, such as developed by certain groups in west Africa against malaria.
Two key developments were highlighted by the experts. One is the Human Genome Project which aims to map the entire human genetic blueprint by 2003.
The other is gene therapy, a technology still in its infancy, which uses "vectors" such as harmless viruses to carry corrective DNA into malfunctioning cells.
The BMA warned that theoretically nothing could stop the development of "viral vectors or micro-organisms" (bacteria, virus, etc) capable of targeting an enemy group with a particular genetic make-up while sparing their neighbours.
"In short, if there are distinguishing DNA sequences between groups, and if these can be targeted in a way that is known to produce a harmful outcome, a genetic weapon is possible," said the report. Far from being science fiction, it cited a report in the strategic military magazine Jane's on worries expressed by US Defence Secretary William Cohen in June 1997 about "certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could eliminate certain ethnic groups".
"The scientific community is very close to being able to manufacture" such weapons, said Cohen.
There have also been sporadic reports of Israeli developing such weapons to use against Arabs and white South Africans targeting blacks in a similar fashion.
On November 15, Britain's Sunday Times reported Israel was working on an "ethnic" biological weapon which will hit Arabs and not Jews by distinguishing between their genetic differences.
Quoting Israeli military sources and western intelligence services, the report said researchers were trying to isolate distinctive "Arab" genes in order to develop a virus, transmitted by air or water, which would target them specifically.
The programme, based in the top secret Ness Ziona germ warfare laboratory south of Tel-Aviv, is complicated by the fact that Jews and Arabs are genetically close, both being of semitic origin, the report said.
The BMA did not argue that all genetic research should stop, recognising its possibilities for saving lives and advancing medical treatment.
But the report stressed: "Getting rid of of weapons once they are produced is very difficult; governments may be reluctant to give up weapons that the rest of the world finds unacceptable."
The BMA said it was particularly anxious to see effective verification procedures introduced to ensure compliance with the biological weapons ban, and stressed that vigilance by doctors and scientists was "vital".
"We still have the chance to strengthen the ban on these weapons," said Nathanson. "We must do so now and we must make sure the ban is policed effectively."
By Brett Lee Shelton, J.D., and Stuart Newman, Ph.D.
[Explanatory Note: IPCB staff and Board members frequently receive questions concerning the prospects of biowarfare based on genetic research on indigenous communities. This briefing is an attempt to explain the prospects of such an occurrence by explaining how current research fits into such a possibility.]
Concern about biological warfare is not just a paranoid delusion in native communities across America. Reports of smallpox-infested blankets being distributed during the Indian wars period of United States history, and more recent experience of forced sterilization are well-known in many native communities. Its not such a stretch to think that genetic research focusing on native people could lead to a new form of biowarfare. And its not merely paranoia leading people to believe that a government that allowed, and even sponsored, biological experimentation such as the Tuskeegee experiments in which African American men were purposely left untreated for syphilis, would also sponsor similarly unethical research. But just how could genetic research contribute to biowarfare?
Genetically-based biowarfare would be different from the forms of biowarfare we already know about. Current models of biowarfare involve introducing a biohazard into a targeted population, and then letting nature take its course as the biohazard infects the target population (and anyone else who happens to be infected). The specific biohazard involved could be any of a number of infectious agents-- diseases such as anthrax are common examples. Generally, this form of warfare is messy in that it is difficult to limit exposure to only members of the target population. Anyone exposed may be infected, rather than just those who were targeted. Generally, this type of warfare would be ineffective except in cases of terrorism or when the entire population of a certain location is targeted.
If one could more accurately target the victims, however, biowarfare might be more effective. Genetic differences in people could provide the basis for precision targeting in biowarfare. Certain steps would be required for such genetically-targeted biowarfare to be a reality.
First, an understanding of the typical human genome would be required. This would be necessary in order to ensure the benefit of basing biowarfare on genetics, namely that only certain people would be affected, and not others. In order to achieve such precision targeting, you need to understand the genetics of the people you want to avoid targeting.
Second, an understanding of genetic differences would be required. One would have to learn about differences between the targeted population and other populations around them, so that one could eventually take advantage of these differences in targeting the agent of infection. A well-designed, genetically-based instrument of biowarfare would only attack or affect people with a specific genetic trait, and not others. The genetic differences between the targeted people and the surrounding population would have to be understood before such targeting could be achieved.
Finally, once the genes of the general population, and differences between the targeted population and the surrounding population, are understood, it would be necessary to develop instruments of warfare, such as strains of infectious agents like viruses and infections, that would only attack or affect the targeted people. If a virus were to be the instrument of biowarfare, it would have to be able to distinguish between the genes of the targeted people and those around them. Specifically, it would have to only have a harmful effect on the targeted people.
If each of these three conditions were met, it would be possible to develop instruments of biowarfare that discriminately harm only people with a particular genetic trait. Biowarfare based on genetics would be a real possibility. But could this ever happen?
The first necessary step for genetic biowarfare, understanding the typical human genetic makeup, is well underway. In June, 2000, the U.S. government and a corporation, Celera Genomics, jointly announced that they had virtually completed a map of the typical human genome.
The second step, understanding differences in populations that could be targeted, is also underway. Once it was clear that the first map of the human genome would eventually be made, research into the differences in genetic information between populations was undertaken. Since the announcement of the mapping of the human genome, increasing attention has been focused on describing genetic differences between populations. While indigenous populations are highly sought after for genetic diversity research because of supposed within-group uniformity, no study conducted to date can distinguish a particular people from all others based solely upon their genetic differences.
The third step is further off, as far as we know. Research on what defines a bacteria or virus as pathogenic has not reached firm conclusions even for known disease-causing microbes. For example, what caused the 1918 strain of influenza to become such a world-wide killer is still a matter of controversy, and the means by which HIV undermines the immune system is still poorly understood despite more than a decade of intensive study. On the other hand, recent research on mouse viruses in Australia has shown that the creation of super-germs is not as difficult as previously thought. While it is possible that the technology currently being used in genetic research could eventually contribute to the development of ethnically-targeted biowarfare agents, scientists seem far from being able to control the properties of microbes with such precision at the present time.
The fact that research that would support the development of genetic biowarfare is already substantially underway can be rather unsettling. Further, the scope of funding for such research and its supporters (including the Departments of Energy and Defense) do not help ease the mind.
There is already extensive research being conducted on the genetic basis of disease and resistance in humans and other species, such as crops. There is a long history of such research.. For a good discussion of some of the relevant issues, see Pat Roy Mooney, The ETC Century: Erosion, Transformation, and Corporate Concentration in the 21st Century, in Development Dialogue 1999:1-2, at pages 30-43 (available online at www.rafi.org).
The main reassuring aspect of all research that has been done to date is that all human groups have the same set of genes, and there are no genetic variants that are exclusively found in one people or ethnic group. Even if a genetic variant is highly concentrated in a given group there is a certain probability that someone who is not part of that group, or not aware of common ancestry with that group, will also have the variant. This means that any army that wishes to use a biowarfare agent that is targeted to a particular ethnic group will have to carefully screen its own troops to make sure that none of them are susceptible. Such screening is not impossible, but it would be unpractical for an army drawn from an ethnically diverse population. Alternatively, vaccination against such agents might be possible, but would never be completely reliable. If such screening or vaccination were undertaken in the United States, it would have to be done under the strictest secrecy.
Given the relationship of poor nutrition and sanitation to illness and death from infectious disease, it must also be recognized that the maintenance of poverty by the policies of corporations and the governments of rich nations constitutes a form of biological warfare. In such cases no new agents need be designedexisting ones such as AIDS, typhoid, and malaria are entirely sufficient.
The best defense against the development of novel genetically-targeted biowarfare agents are demands that international protocols banning such research be agreed to by the United States and enforced, and that no secret research on pathogens and vaccines be permitted to take place here or abroad.