Tag Archives: biotechnology

50 whys to look for genes: Pros and complications

Working paper from 2015: Taylor, Peter J., “50 whys to look for genes: Pros and complications” (2015). Working Papers on Science in a Changing World. 12.

“Treating the audience as capable of thinking about the complexities that surround the application of genetic knowledge” was the tagline of a series of daily blog posts made over seven weeks in the fall of 2014, posts that included extended quotes from the recently published Nature-Nurture? No (Taylor 2014). This working paper is a compilation of those posts.

50 whys to look for genes: 49. Biotech/Pharma funds it

The 1970s saw researchers in molecular genetics first argue that science progresses when free from outside direction–in the form of government restrictions on genetic engineering–and later argue that science progresses when scientists are free to receive funding (and often direction) from private corporations–including corporations started by academic researchers. In 1980 the Bayl-Dole act in the USA allowed private corporations to profit from commercializing products of research that had been funded by the government. Continue reading

50 whys to look for genes: 48. Build on something people have been doing for thousands of years

The field of genetic engineering remains a heated topic of discussion in today’s society with the advent of gene therapy, stem cell research, cloning, and genetically modified food. [However] this relationship of biotechnology serving social needs began centuries ago… (wikipedia)

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50 whys to look for genes: 47. Revolutionary potential

The once science-fictional idea of “genetic engineering,” with its implications of altering the characteristics of human beings to ward off disease or to create armies of obedient slaves, has taken a long step toward reality in the last two years. (NY Times 1975)

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Genes for difference; genes for traits

In any quantitative analysis that associates a trait with some measurable genetic or environmental factors, the genetic factors are factors for difference.  That is, a difference in the factor is associated, when viewed across a population of individuals, with a difference in the trait.  These differences that a factor-for-difference makes ( as we ambiguously say in English) in the trait depend on the context (i.e., they are “local”) and that context has dynamics, which may or may not be restructured if the factor is taken beyond the boundaries of the local context.

Given that quantitative analysis of variation for a trait concerns genes or other factors for difference, what can be reasonably promised regarding genes and the development of a trait in an individual? Continue reading

“What Europe can learn from the World?”

My first, mostly unscripted take of a response to an invitation to prepare a very short video where Activists and Scholars respond to the question: “What can Europe learn from the World?” http://www.youtube.com/embed/9Jn0GMweuTs I shift the question to what can European researchers learn.

Takes 2 or 3 or… are needed.  My video is far longer than the others on the current playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXGOQzlnH7jRLCQoyqIpubpBcz-FSVie8