Anorak News | Replication, Replication, Replication

Replication, Replication, Replication

by | 20th, May 2005

‘IS it merely coincidental that on the day the papers celebrate a major breakthrough in cloning, Tony Blair is in hospital with a, er, slipped disc.

‘I have seen the future, and it is good’

The plot thickens when the Telegraph uses its front page to announce that the first cloned human embryos to have been made in Britain were manufactured in Newcastle upon Tyne, a place close to Tony’s heart.

While a million Tony’s with bad backs get ready to slip off the production line, South Korea has stolen a march in the so-called life sciences, and created more than 30 cloned human embryos.

A group led by Professor Woo Suk Hwang, of Seoul National University, has produced what the Times calls a “production line for cloned cells”.

At this point most of the readers are already lost; science is a black art that people in white coats get up to in institutions. Mindful of this the paper delivers its Cloning For Idiots crash course.

Beneath a picture of what looks like frog spawn, the paper has produced a quick Q & A session.

Question 1: “What is this?” Answer: Britain’s first cloned human embryo. Question 2: “What happens next?” Answer: The cells will divide until there are over 100. Questions 3: “How will it help the sick?” Answer: The embryo could produce cells for “human spare parts”, such as replacement hearts, livers and discs.

While readers raise their hands and ask, “Please, miss can I got to the toilet?”, the paper has moved on to show a series of diagrams entitled: “SCIENCE FACT: A SIMPLE GUIDE TO PROCESS AND PLANS.”

It’s getting harder to understand than a sozzled Charles Kennedy. But to the Guardian’s elitist mind even this is too dumbed down.

The paper seems to want to prove that its readers are smarter than the Times’s, and delivers its more intensive course over a page of diagrams, photographs and data.

There is a pretty cool picture of an adult cell nucleus being injected into an egg. And the block of 16 shots of embryonic stem cells forming into different tissues looks like the kind of thing that wouldn’t look out of place hanging on Charles Saatchi’s walls.

But after the pictures, we’re lost. And the news that tomorrow the Guardian’s comment page will feature “an extended debate on the pros and cons of stem cell research”, fills us with dread.

But at least the debate will give Tony something to read while he’s laid up with that bad back…’

Posted: 20th, May 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink