You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot
unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death,
open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires
lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow, your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity…

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance…

— Kahlil Gibran

1 December 2009

art by Maddy Ballard

The lost world of old Europe

Artifacts from a current exhibit at NYU.
These come from ruins of villages in Romania that are 6,000-7,000 years old.  Multi-storey buildings are found, and metalwork was well developed.  There was lots of art but there was no writing, many tools but and no weapons have been unearthed.

Slide show, courtesy NYTimes

2 December 2009

Imagine the brain...

...that shiny mound of being, that mouse-gray parliament of cells, that dream factory, that petit tyrant inside a ball of bone, that huddle of neurons calling all the plays, that little everywhere, that fickle pleasuredrome, that wrinkled wardrobe of selves stuffed into the skull like too many clothes in a gym bag.

Diane Ackerman,
from “An Alchemy of Mind

3 December 2009

A lot of people assume that the key to productivity is hard work, and of course hard work is essential. But there are limits to how much work is useful. Research suggests that working harder and longer doesn’t necessarily mean getting more done.

Consider how many of your most creative thoughts occur not in front of a computer screen or at the bench but while your are showering, golfing, lying in bed, or taking a jog in the park.

A 4-year study by professor Leslie Perlow and research associate Jessica Porter, both of the Harvard Business School, published in the October issue of Harvard Business Review, demonstrates that time off can have a larger, positive effect on individual and organizational productivity than more hours on the job.

— Irene S. Levine, writing in Science Magazine

4 December 2009

Idle hands make a devil’s workshop

         from the TWELFTH CENTURY

Found a family, build a state,
The pledged event is still the same:
Matter in end will never abate
His ancient brutal claim.

Indolence is heaven’s ally here,
And energy the child of hell :
The Good Man pouring from his pitcher clear
But brims the poisoned well.

—  Herman Melville (1819-1891)

5 December 2009

The truth will set you free

People who know my political views ask how I can maintain optimism for the world’s future, knowing that the US government is hiding crimes against humanity and crimes against democracy that corporate news organs decline to report.

I respond: it is profoundly hopeful that such an elaborate program of disinformation and subversion of democracy is necessary to the continuation of war and corruption. Over time, truth has a way of asserting itself, and the Internet has slashed the requirement for patience.

All that is necessary to effect a transformation in the corrupt power structure is for truth to be revealed, and we who have glimpsed the truth are poised to become midwives to a Velvet Revolution in America, a bloodless re-assertion of the will of the people

Joy is the lubricant.

— Josh Mitteldorf

6 December 2009


The world’s ecosystem is too big to fail.  If climate were a bank, it would have been saved.

Climate justice advocates in Copenhagen this week will demand measures that are commensurate with the earth’s size, to be paid for by the world’s richest nations and not passed off for the developing world to carry. 

Naomi Klein:  Copenhagen - Seattle Grows Up

‘Cap and trade’ must not be a ruse for rewarding past polluters with future permits, which they can sell for a profit.

Most radical politics is suffused with despair and a neurotic obsession with “being realistic”. No one is going to want to change the world unless it is the most joyful and desirable activity around. In a time when capitalism has hijacked our desires and wants, we must make rebellion more beautiful than anything capitalism can ever dream of.

— Manifesto of John Jordan

7 December 2009

Can you find Zomia on a map?
(hint: look just north of Shangri-la).

Zomia is a place where state power has made itself felt only weakly, if at all. As Scott writes, Zomia “represents one of the world’s longest-standing and largest refuges of populations who live in the shadow of states but who have not yet been fully incorporated.” 

The cultures that have emerged have tended to be fiercely nonhierarchical. The Wa, for example, limit ostentatious feast-throwing and forbid the wealthy from conducting sacrifices that might be seen as giving them chief-like status. The Kachin have a long tradition of killing chiefs who are seen as overreaching. The Lahu, of China’s Yunnan province, have no level of political organization above the hamlet. All of these traditions actively prevent a larger, more complex society from emerging.

In Zomia’s small societies, with their simple technologies, anti-authoritarian tendencies, and oral cultures, Scott sees not a world forgotten by civilization, but one that has been deliberately constructed to keep the state at arm’s length. Zomia’s history, Scott argues, is a rejection of the mighty lowland states that are seen as defining Asia. He calls Zomia a “shatter zone,” a place where people go to escape the raw deal that complex civilization historically has been for those at the bottom...

In his most speculative and contested claim, Scott argues that even the lack of a written language in many Zomian societies is an adaptive measure and a conscious societal choice. For peasants, writing was, first and foremost, a tool of state control - it was the instrument the elite used to extract money, labor, and military service from them. As a result, Scott argues, when those peasants escaped into the hills they discarded writing in an attempt to ensure that similar coercive hierarchies didn’t arise in the new societies they formed.  “I’ve studied peasant rebellions, and one of first things that early peasant rebellions always do is to attack the records office,” says Scott. “They associate writing with their oppression.”

Boston Globe Book Review

8 December 2009

No herald

The sovereignty of nature has been allotted to the silent forces. The moon makes not the faintest echo of a noise, yet it draws millions of tons of tidal waters to and fro at its bidding. We do not hear the sun rise nor the planets set.  So, too, the dawning of the greatest moment in a man’s life comes quietly, with none to herald it to the world.  In that stillness alone is born the knowledge of the Overself.  The gliding of the mind’s boat into the lagoon of the spirit is the gentlest thing I know; it is more hushed than the fall of eventide. 

Paul Brunton

9 December 2009

‘Believe in miracles, just don’t try to schedule them.’


10 December 2009

Homosexuality is an abomination against nature
...except maybe when birds and toads and insects and sheep do it

In an enlightened society, science is supposed to be guiding social policy, but too frequently it is the other way around.  During the shameful decades when human homosexuality was an unmentionable, no one in the scientific community came forward to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute...’  Or, more likely, some scientists did come forward, but their work was unpublishable.  Now that we have gay marriage in Western Europe and five American states and the movement toward universal recognition of sexual preference as a fundamental human right seems unstoppable, science is belatedly trying to catch up. 

Male flour beetles mount one another, as do desert locusts and damselflies. Male toads have a special croak that means, ‘Lay off — I’m straight’. Bottlenose dolphins use same-sex behaviors for community bonding.   Dung flies, woodpeckers, bison, macaques, elephants...once the floodgates are open, science has discovered same-sex behaviors everywhere.  

30% of the mating pairs of Laysan Albatrosses in the Hawaiian islands are female-female pairs.  Do the math:  there are almost as many gay females as straight.

Article in New Scientist last week

It’s slightly to the side of the point here, but closely related to my work as an evolutionary biologist: The ubiquity of same sex behaviors in nature is yet one more demonstration that a fundamental assumption of neo-Darwinist theory is wrong.  That is the assumption that ‘fitness’ is purely an individual characteristic, and it is all about generating more offspring.

11 December 2009

‘Any alleged Christianity which fails to express itself in cheerfulness, at some point, is clearly spurious.’

Elton Trueblood, born this day in 1900

12 December 2009

Outlook for Gaia

People who know my environmental views ask how I can maintain optimism for the world’s future, knowing that the oceans have been plundered, climate is changing at a historically unprecedented rate, and species are disappearing in a global extinction.

I respond: Mass extinctions are tragic on a human timescale, and transformative on a geological timescale. We cannot know where the human race is headed, or how our drive to conquer the Earth’s ecology will transform into a sustainable partnership. But the primary truth of evolutionary history is: that which is stable and sustainable is what survives and persists through the æons. In this context, the revolutionary century in which we are privileged to live is unique in the history of the Earth, and will herald the establishment of a new equilibrium, the character of which we can only speculate.

Wonder is our lantern.

— Josh Mitteldorf

13 December 2009

Pilgrims, all

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much,
very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within
our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.
And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,
wending through unknown country, toward home.

Giovanni Giocondo (1513)
(thanks to Joe Riley at

14 December 2009

from The Golden Shower

Thou we seem merely mortal, what we are
Is clearly mirrored on a deathless flood.
We change and fade: our dust is strewn afar—
Only the ancient river of our blood,
Rising far-off in unimagined spaces,
Red with the silt and ruin of the past
And churning with the strife of savage races,
Like deep Zambezi goes on rolling past,
Swiftens through us its energies unending,
And reaches out, beneath the shades we cast,
To what vast ocean of the night descending
Or in what sunny lake at last to sleep,
We do not know—save that it turns to foam,
Just here, for us; its currents curl and comb
And all its castalies in thunder leap,
Silvering, forth into a white resilience
Of ecstasy, whose momentary brilliance
Must compensate eternities of sleep.

Knowing these things, are not we lovers, then,
Though mortal in our nature, more than men?
Since by our senses, as by rivers, veined,
The hills of primal memory are drained,
And the dim summits of their frosty spars,
Whose tops are nibbled by the grazing stars,
Thawed by the rising noon of our desire,
And fusing into consciousness and fire,
Down through the sounding canyons of the soul
Their rich alluvium of starlight roll.

— Roy Campbell

15 December 2009

This music was written by a short, clumsy German with wild hair, sometimes a bit full of himself, and not always polite, but I kind of like it anyway.  It’s subtitled, ‘Holy song of thanks on recovery from an illness, in Lydian mode’, or Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart, from the string quartet Op 132.

Happy Birthday Ludwig, 239 years old today

16 December 2009

MSNBC picks the year’s most important scientific discoveries

1. It took 15 years for researchers to reconstruct the skeleton of Ardipithecus ramidus, an apparent human ancestor unearthed in Ethiopia in 1994. The results were surprising: Ardi's image didn't look like a cross between an African ape and early hominids such as Australopithecus afarensis (represented by another famous skeleton, nicknamed Lucy). Rather, her skeleton was structured for upright walking as well as climbing, with long, curving fingers suited for grasping tree branches.

The message was that apes as well as humans have changed significantly since Ardi’s heyday to adapt to their particular evolutionary niches. Anyone who still thinks that ‘humans evolved from apes’ will have to shift his paradigm.

2. Pulsars in the gamma-ray sky: NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveals a new wave of pulsars.

3. How plants get a rush: Scientists are learning how ABA receptors help plants get through stressful times.

4. Mock monopoles spotted: An elusive phenomenon, involving materials that have only a north or a south magnetic pole, is created in the lab using special materials.

5. The stuff of longevity: Drugs such as rapamycin are being targeted for animal studies that eventually could lead to life extension for humans.

6. Our icy moon revealed: NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite crashes into the moon to find fresh evidence of water ice.

7. The return of gene therapy: Gene therapy has suffered setbacks over the past 20 years, but this year researchers reported success in treating maladies such as X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, Leber’s congenital amaurosis and ‘bubble boy’ disease.

8. Graphene takes off: Single-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms are the hot new thing in materials science, potentially opening the way for graphene transistors that can outdo silicon.

9. Hubble reborn: The Hubble Space Telescope gets its final scheduled upgrade from shuttle astronauts and emerges working better than ever.

10. First X-ray laser shines: SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source was fired up for the first time in April, beginning a series of experiments that will use X-rays to probe structures on the atomic scale. Check this item to look back at my tour of SLAC while the LCLS was under construction.

More here.

17 December 2009

Laughter on purpose

As children, we laugh hundreds of times each day, delighted by the newness of living. When we reach adulthood, however, we tend to not allow ourselves to let go in a good belly laugh. Inviting laughter back into our lives is simply a matter of making the conscious decision to laugh. Though most of us are incited to laugh only when exposed to humor or the unexpected, each of us is capable of laughing at will.  A laugh that comes from the belly carries with it the same positive effects whether prompted by a funny joke or consciously willed into existence...

It is easy to laugh when we feel good, but it is when the world appears dim that we most need laughter in our lives.  Our laughter then resonates through our hearts, filling the empty spaces with unadulterated joy.  We regain our footing in the moment and remember that no sorrow is powerful enough to rob us of our inborn happiness.  When we understand that uninhibited laughter is the food of the soul, nourishing us from within, we know instinctively that life is ecstasy.

Daily Om

Laughter Yoga combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (pranayama). Anyone can laugh for no reason, without relying on humor, jokes or comedy.
Madan Kataria

18 December 2009

Paul Klee,
born this day in 1879

Not content merely to write, he turns his life into theater of the absurd

In 2009 we were in Denmark witness to a rather unusual and spectacular literary incident. The Danish author Claus Beck-Nielsen declared himself dead in 2001. A year later he was resurrected as the nameless director of the art factory Das Beckwerk, the mission of which was to continue the life and work of Claus Beck-Nielsen.

In 2003, accompanied by the performance artist Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech, he journeyed to Iraq under the name ‘Nielsen’ with the stated aim of establishing democracy in the war-ravaged country. Their trip resulted in a series of newspaper articles and TV programmes. Subsequently, the man formerly known as Claus Beck-Nielsen wrote the book Selvmordsaktionen (The suicide mission, 2005) about the journey.

In 2006 the pair travelled together again with a similar project, this time to the USA; Suverænen (The sovereign) was published in 2008, with Das Beckwerk credited as the author. The book, which is promoted as a novel, is largely about Thomas Skade-Rasmusse, and describes among other things elements of his friend's private life.

Skade-Rasmussen, who, to make things even more confusing, also works under a number of pseudonyms, sued Das Beckwerk in 2009; in his opinion, the man formerly known as Claus Beck-Nielsen had invaded his private life and made public sensitive and private information.

Confused? With good reason. Essentially, a fictional character is suing the novel’s author for invading his privacy! This has never before been seen in Denmark.

more from Andreas Harbsmeier at Eurozine

19 December 2009

Two experimental results from neuroscience

One is from the far edge of conventional experimental psychology, the other is from the near edge of parapsychology. Both challenge our ideas about who we are, and how our experience is related to the signals in our brain.

1. The Libet Experiment, ~1978, with many follow-ups by Libet and others continuing to date

The subject is instructed to lift a hand at a moment of his own choosing, and to record the position of a fast “clock hand” at the moment he is aware of making the decision. He is wired up to monitor neural activity.

The subject typically reports his decision 2/10 of a second before lifting his hand. But the surprising result is that neural activity in motor areas of the brain can be detected 5/10 of a second before the action. So the motor signal can be detected typically 3/10 of a second before the subject reports that he has made a decision. The body’s motion is neurally determined before the time of the ‘decision’.

The (controversial) interpretation is that free will is an illusion. Our neurons have decided what to do when we put our rubber stamp of ‘free will’ on the decision and pretend that we had a choice.

The finding is subject to other interpretations, however. Maybe ‘decisions’ happen in some non-material realm of pure consciousness, and all the neuronal consequences take some time to materialize. Maybe the decision when to lift a hand is fundamentally different from decisions that have moral and practical dimensions, which we ponder and debate in our conscious minds.

Susan Blackmore’s commonsense interpretation is “that conscious experience takes some time to build up and is much too slow to be responsible for making things happen.”

Blackmore memories of Libet
Wiki article

2. Dean Radin, ‘Presentiment’ Experiments, 1997, not independently replicated

Subject sits before a computer screen, and, when he’s ready, presses a button for the next picture to appear. The pictures are either emotionally calm (e.g., mountain landscape, cheerful face) or emotionally charged (erotica, snake, auto accident). The picture is randomly selected.

Sweating in the palms is a standard measure of emotional arousal, because it is easily recorded as a change in electrical conductivity of the skin.

50 subjects were shown 40 pictures each, for a total of 2000 experimental trials. The measured skin resistance varied a great deal from one trial to the next, but by averaging 2000 trials, it could be turned into a smooth curve.

Not surprisingly, the skin resistance curves looked very different after the calm pictures and the charged pictures. But, harder to explain, the curves are slightly different for the 5 seconds before the picture is displayed. The choice of the picture is random, and unrelated to the history of pictures shown in the past. The result is interpreted by Radin as evidence that the nervous system has a presentiment of the stimulus to come, a small but statistically detectable signal (p<0.0004).

(The second experiment is, by present standards, unpublishable in psychology or physiology journals. I blame the journals, and don’t take it as a reflection on Radin’s scholarship that publication is in the Journal of Scientific Exploration.  )

Dean Radin’s journal article                       Radin’s own replication

Here is a web page claiming a possible flaw in methodology, but I’ve studied it and don’t find it convincing.  It is telling that those who claim to be ‘defending science’ hold themselves to so much lower standards than those who are trying to document extraordinary but elusive phenomena.

Experiment #2 is less well studied, more difficult to understand. But if it tells us anything about reality, it ought to be considered in interpreting Experiment #1.

20 December 2009

How science really works

“Given the amount of unexpected data in science, it’s just not feasible to pursue everything,” [UToronto Prof Kevin] Dunbar says. “People have to pick and choose what’s interesting and what’s not, but they often choose badly.” And so results are tossed aside, filed in a quickly forgotten notebook. Scientists discover a new fact, but they call it a failure.

(The reason we’re so resistant to anomalous information — the real reason researchers automatically assume that every unexpected result is a stupid mistake — is rooted in the way the human brain works.) 

—from an Article in Wired by Jonah Lehrer

(It’s also true that most scientists are paid to ask a particular question, and that most of the time anomalous data does turn out to have an uninteresting explanation.)

21 December 2009

The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension; seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.

— Marco Polo’s advice to Genghis Khan
from Invisible Cities of Italo Calvino

22 December 2009

Fantasy on a Hungarian Christmas song

This short piano piece by Erno Dohnanyi begins and ends with a pastorale based on a Hungarian folk song, and in the middle is magic and mystery.

Listen to an amateur performance by Josh Mitteldorf
Listen to a recording by Martin Roscoe

23 December 2009

What if they gave a war and nobody came?

Watch Paul McCartney’s video, Pipes of Peace, based on the spontaneous Christmas truce observed by German and British adversaries in 1914, interrupting hostilities of the World War in defiance of commanding officers on both sides.

24 December 2009

The best present

‘The economic crisis was supposed to increase violence around the world. The truth is that we are now living in one of the most peaceful periods since war first arose 10 or 12 millennia ago. The relative calm of our era, say scientists who study warfare in history and even prehistory, belies the popular, pessimistic notion that war is so deeply rooted in our nature that we can never abolish it. In fact, war seems to be a largely cultural phenomenon, which culture is now helping us eradicate. Some scholars now even cautiously speculate that the era of traditional war—fought by two uniformed, state-sponsored armies—might be drawing to a close.’

— from a Newsweek article by John Horgan

25 December 2009

Seven Principles of Huna
  secret Hawaiian wisdom

Ike — The world is what you think it is.
Kala — There are no limits; everything is possible.
Makia — Energy flows where attention goes.
Namawa — Now is the moment of power.
Aloha — To love is to be happy (with someone or something).
Mana — All power comes from within.
Pono — Effectiveness is the measure of truth.

26 December 2009

The final step

Discipline – that’s the easy part. Rising early to meditate. Holding the pose when it hurts. Not stopping when I’m out of breath. Fasting, again. Being good.

Generosity, kindness, simplicity – three more areas in which to excel.

The hard part: letting go of letting go. Giving up on enlightenment. Relinquishing the attachment to non-attachment.

Perhaps this means it will not be obligatory to give up all judgments and values.

No preference for non-violence over violence, or joy over suffering. Equanimity as between Giant Pandas and toxic sludge. Bottlenose dolphins are not better than mosquitoes, or a lump of clay.

Despotism and utopia, torture and charity, death and life – I know only equanimity.

As between truth and a lie, maybe it’s ok to have a  preference.

   (I won’t know until I get there.)

– Josh Mitteldorf

27 December 2009

art by Barbara Widman

Limits of science

“It is one thing for the human mind to extract from the phenomena of nature the laws which it has itself put into them; it may be a far harder thing to extract laws over which it has no control.  It is even possible that laws which have not their origin in the mind may be irrational, and we can never succeed in formulating them.”

Arthur Eddington, born this day in 1882, was an astrophysicist of the early 20th Century who commanded universal respect, Secretary of the Royal Society, a consummate  interpreter of things astrophysical for the public.  He combined a seat-of-the-pants empiricism with a mystical sense that science might touch not just the unknown but the unknowable.  As gatekeeper for the scientific establishment, Eddington helped to promote Einstein’s relativity and to suppress Chandrasekhar’s (prescient) calculations, which suggested collapsed stars could form black holes.

“We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about ‘and’. ”

28 December 2009

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Personal Development

Physiological Needs: These are the primary needs, which include the needs for food, water, air, and sleep. Without these, physical life itself is not possible.

Safety Needs: Once the physiological needs are met, there are the needs for safe lifestyle and safe environments. These might include safe housing, financial security, job security, as well as physical, mental, and emotional safety and freedom from threats.

Social Needs: Beyond the safety needs arise the needs for belongingness, such as having family, friends, and community. It involves the giving and receiving of love and nurturing.

Esteem Needs: With social needs intact, there comes the needs for self-respect, achievement, and recognition by others. Maslow later modified this somewhat, by explaining that between these Esteem needs and the need for Self-Actualization (below), there is also the need for aesthetics and knowledge.

Self-Actualization: The culmination of Maslow’s original Needs Hierarchy is that of attaining one’s full potential as a human being living in the world, involving the seeking and expression of justice, wisdom, benevolence, and creativity. This level of developmental recognition was a major cornerstone of the Humanistic Psychology movement, sometimes called the ‘third force’ of psychology, following the ‘first force’, which is depth psychology of the ego structure, and the ‘second force’, which is behavioral psychology.

Transpersonal: In his later years, Maslow added a sixth level to his Needs Hierarchy, that of Transcendence or Transpersonal. This was in recognition of realities that are ‘trans’ or beyond all of the first five levels, including even the fifth stage of Self-Actualization. Transpersonal Psychology has become known as the ‘fourth force’ of psychology. It is interesting that while Maslow's Needs Hierarchy of five needs has become widely known, written about, and taught, there is very little written or spoken about his addition of the sixth level. Possibly it is not understood well enough to make it into most of the psychology, business, and other human development textbooks, magazines, or journals since few people develop to this level in their current incarnation.

Article from Swami J

29 December 2009

Genes are the best medicine

There are known genes for resistance to many diseases.  Genes can confer resistance to many infectious diseases, and even for heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, there are known genes that greatly improve odds for a person’s resistance.

But copies of genes exist in the nucleus of every cell in the body.  How to insert splices or changes in the genomes of billions of cells?  Up until now, the best available technique used retroviruses.  A retrovirus is a piece of RNA that can insert DNA copies of itself into a chromosome of a host cell.  Retroviruses can be genetically engineered to carry just the genes we want to insert. 

There has been exactly one test of this technique in a human subject, a young man who suffered from a rare congenital disease, and the treatment killed him in 1999.  Since then, experimental doctors have been shy about experimenting with humans.

The good news is that there is a new technique for tweaking the DNA without retroviruses. ‘Zinc fingers’ have been under development since 1995, and they can be designed to find a particular spot on a particular chromosome.  Splicing or destroying a harmful gene is the first application.  But insertion of a whole new gene has been tried with some success.

In principle, the zinc finger approach should work on almost any site on any chromosome of any plant or animal. If so, it would provide a general method for generating new crop plants, treating many human diseases, and even making inheritable changes in human sperm or eggs,

Article in Tuesday’s Science Times

30 December 2009



body ‘’ “”

— Author

31 December 2009

Queen of Hearts — Archive of past entries. Bullfrog Design