Forum at Virginia Tech to address issues of human cloning

10/06/04

Blacksburg, Va., Oct. 7, 2004 Choices and Challenges at Virginia Tech will hold a public forum entitled "On the Eve of Human Cloning," a day-long series of panels and discussions to be held on Oct. 28 at Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center. This forum is open to the public at no charge.

"The reality of reproductive and therapeutic human cloning is with us. Both types of cloning involve complex social and ethical dimensions that merit public discussion," says Choices and Challenges co-director Eileen Crist of the Department of Science and Technology in Society. The forum is designed both to inform and to provide an opportunity for public participation in debate on this topic.

The main panel discussion will take place at 11 a.m. and feature a number of nationally-recognized experts on issues of human cloning, representing a range of views and areas of expertise:

  • Wendy Goldman Rohm is an investigative journalist and author of the forthcoming book, The Eighth Day: On the front Lines of Stem Cell Research and the Countdown to a Human Clone.
  • Barbara Katz Rothman, a sociologist at the City University of New York, has written extensively on genetic engineering and reproductive technologies, and is the author of The Book of Life: A Personal and Ethical guide to Race, Normality, and the Implications of the Human Genome Project.
  • Lee Silver is a professor of molecular biology at Princeton University and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is the author of Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family.
  • Lee Zwanziger is a biomedical ethicist and Senior Research Analyst on the President's Council on Bioethics. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech.

    A range of sessions will be held both before and after the main panel, covering topics of bioethics, religious perspectives on cloning, animal cloning, legal issues, and broader cultural and social implications of cloning.

    In conjunction with the Choices and Challenges Forum, Virginia Tech's Theater Arts Department will present the play, A Number, by British playwright Caryl Churchill. The play dramatizes our anxieties about our individuality and identity that are stirred up by the looming possibility of cloning. It will be performed at 5 and 8 p.m. in the Squires Student Center Studio Theatre Oct. 27-29.

    "We are very fortunate to have an acclaimed play by a world-class playwright that is a perfect fit with the themes of the forum," says Daniel Breslau, co-director of Choices and Challenges. Following performances of this play on Oct. 27 and 28, the audience will take part in an interactive discussion with the cast, director, and experts participating in the forum.

    The Choices and Challenges Project was founded in 1985, and has presented annual forums on issues of public concern involving science and technology.

    Source: Eurekalert & others

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