Melanin-Secreting Stem-Cells in Follicles Die Off Systematically Causing Gray Hair

December 25, 2004; According to a report in the on-line edition of Science [1], researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston studying melanoma, say that "the scalp contains a reservoir of adult stem cells that provide a supply of melanocytes that color hair and skin." As we age, it is these stem cells that appear to become depleted.

[ Editor's Note: The onset of grayness around age 50 appears in a gradual but relentless spacial pattern (an exquisitely characteristic pattern that starts at the temples and then migrates systematically throughout the beard and mustache for men ultimately resulting in all white hair in the very old) that may be related to a chemokine concentration distribution rather than to a specific defect in the stem cells themselves. If these stem cells actually die off by apoptosis as stated in the paper, an alternative hypothesis would be that it is due to an increasing concentration of a toxic agent in the follicle or the lack of some essential co-factor in stem-cell differentiation. Therefore, it is intriguing to speculate about the possibility of slowing grayness and/or restoring natural hair color by simply introducing some sort of chemokine into the scalp with a shampoo. If this were to work in a limited fashion, even for only some people, it would make its patent-holder instantly wealthy, as cosmetics companies bid for the exclusive license to turn it into an OTC product. The scientists at Dan-Farber, however, said that their goal is "only to prevent or treat Malignant Melanoma," i.e., to stop run-away melanocytes dead in their tracks with targeted chemotherapy against the life cycle of these cells (ironically, accelerating the process of graying as a side effect). We know a great deal about the genetics of inherited albinism and the dermatological condition of vitiligo, a random pattern of skin hypopigmentation. However, so far, we apparently don't know quite enough to solve this singular problem of grayness. In the mean time, hair dye is the only inexpensive answer to recovering one's lost youth. (Sigh!)]


1. Emi K. Nishimura [1*], Scott R. Granter [2], and David E. Fisher [1*]
"Mechanisms of Hair Graying: Incomplete Melanocyte Stem Cell Maintenance in the Niche,"
Science (December 23, 2004).
[1.] Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Melanoma Program in Medical Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston Children's Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115; USA

[2.] Department of Pathology
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA; USA
* To whom correspondence should be addressed:
Emi K. Nishimura , E-mail:
David E. Fisher, E-mail:


Hair graying is the most obvious sign of aging in man, yet its mechanism is largely unknown. Here we utilize melanocyte-tagged transgenic mice and aging human hair follicles to demonstrate that hair graying is caused by defective self-maintenance of melanocyte stem-cells. This process is accelerated dramatically with Bcl2-deficiency, which causes selective apoptosis of melanocyte stem-cells within the niche at their entry into the dormant state, but not of differentiated melanocytes. Furthermore, physiologic aging of melanocyte stem-cells was associated with "ectopic pigmentation or differentiation" within the niche, a process accelerated by mutation of the melanocyte master transcriptional regulator Mitf.

2. AP, "Graying Hair May Reveal Cancer Clues," The Los Angeles Times, p. A31 (December 25, 2004).
3. Shankar Vedantam, "Cancer Study Explains Gray Hair," Washington Post, p. A11 (December 27, 2004).
4. "How Gray Hair May Save Skin," The New York Times, p. D6 (December 28, 2004).

Interview with the US Surgeon General


December 21, 2004; Click on the photo of Dr. Richard Carmona, M.D., U.S. Surgeon General, for an exclusive interview on "Defining the US Preventive Healthcare Agenda" in the current issue (No. 3) of our Integrative Medicine for Anti-Aging e-Journal.

California Stem-Cell Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC)

Robert Klein and Son, Jordan Robert Klein and Son, Jordan Robert Klein (L)

December 17, 2004; At a meeting today on the UC San Francisco campus, the following appointments to the 27-person Stem-Cell Regenerative Medicine Institute Oversight Committee were confirmed...


Robert Klein, former Palo Alto real estate developer ran the successful Prop. 71 Ballot Initiative this Fall and who is an attorney with a background in bond financing. Klein, 59, has a 14-year-old Son with Juvenile Diabetes.

Vice Chairperson:

Edward Penhoet, Co-Founder of biotech giant Chiron Corp., has served as Dean of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health and is currently Head of The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


A. Mandatory Members (Chancellors of UC campuses having medical schools):

1. Susan V. Bryant, Dean at UC Irvine School of Biological Sciences
2. Edward W. Holmes, Dean UC San Diego School of Medicine
3. David Kessler, Dean of UC San Francisco School of Medicine and former head of the FDA
4. Gerald S. Levy, Dean of the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine
5. Claire Pomeroy, Dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine

B. Public Members (appointed by State Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, Treasurer Phil Angelides, Controller Steve Westly, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nufiez, and Former Senate President Pro Tem John Burton):

6. David Baltimore, President of CalTech in Pasadena, CA
7. Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor UC Berkeley
8. Philip Pizzo, Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine
9. Brian E. Henderson, Dean of the USC Keck School of Medicine
10. Richard Murphy, CEO of the Salk Institute of La Jolla, CA
11. Keith L. Black, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
12. Oswald Steward, Christopher Reeve Center for Spinal Cord Injury, UC Irvine
13. Leon J. Thai, UC San Diego
14. Gayle Wilson, wife of the former Governor of California Pete Wilson and Board Member of Gilead Sciences, Inc.
15. Josephine Phyllis Preciado of UC San Francisco
16. Tina S. Nova, CEO, Geonoptix, Inc. of San Diego, CA
17. David Serrano-Sewell, Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Francisco
18. Ted W. Love, CEO of Nuvelo, Inc. of Sunnyvale, CA
19. Joan Samuelson, President of the Parkinson's Action Network
20. John C. Reed, CEO of the Burnham Institute
21. Sherry Lansing, CEO of Paramount Pictures
22. John Hein, Director of the National Advocacy Organization Communities for Quality Education
23. Jeffrey Sheehy, Deputy Director for Communications at the UCSF AIDS Research Institute
24. Michael Friedman, President of the City of Hope
25. Michael Goldberg Genomic Health
26. Francisco Prieto, President of Sacramento-Sierra Chapter of the American Diabetes Association
27. Janet Wright, cardiologist

This Committee will have oversight responsibility for the distribution of $300 million per year for stem-cell-related research exclusively within the state of California over the next ten years, far exceeding the historical levels at NIH at the Federal level for the entire country. First funds could be released as early as May 2005.


1.The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine has its own official ".gov" website at This site will be the one that lists the agendas for all official public meetings of the ICOC.
2. The California Research and Cures Coalition has a separate ".org" website at This site will be the one to list all educational meetings for the public. For example, during January 2005, four meetings were held at different locations throughout California (San Francisco, Madera/Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego). This Editor attended the meeting in downtown Los Angeles at the Chamber of Commerce on Bixel Street on January 19th.
3. Megan Garvey, "Stem-Cell Spending Fight Builds: A State Senator [Deborah Ortiz] Is Seeking Legislative Oversight for the Bond Money Approved by Voters for Research. The Initiative's Author Opposes the Idea," The Los Angeles Times, pp. B1, 10 (December 7, 2004).
4. Michael Hiltzik, Golden State, "Stem-Cell Initiative Lacks Oversight," The Los Angeles Times, p. pp. C1, 10 (December 9, 2004).
5. Panel Discussion Cartoon, "The Well-Equipped 2004 Science Lab," The Los Angeles Times, p. M4 (December 12, 2004).
6. Megan Garvey, "Stem-Cell Agency Cuts Its Inaugural Agenda: The Board Will Vote Only on Leadership Posts after Concerns Were Raised about Violating Open Meetings Law," The Los Angeles Times, pp. B1, 10 (December 17, 2004).
7. "Nominee for Stem Cell Panel Chief Is Troubling," Los Angeles Times, p. B14 (December 17, 2004).
8. Francine Coeytaux and Susan Berke Fogel, Co-founders of the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Stem-Cell Research, "The Stem Cell Chair to the Highest Bidder?" The Los Angeles Times, p. B15 (December 17, 2005).
Note: This is Alliance is not one of ours. The authors oppose the choice of Robert Klein as Chairman of the ICOC without a public competition. Prop. 71, however, did not call for a public competition, so one must look deeper for the agenda of this Alliance to figure out where they're coming from.
9. Megan Garvey, "Developer Elected to Head Stem-Cell Agency: Bob Klein Is Chosen Unanimously at the Group's First Meeting. Some Decisions Are Put Off Until Next Year Over Public Notice Concerns," The Los Angeles Times, pp. B1, 12 (December 18, 2004).
10. AP "Plans for Stem Cell Research Advance," The Los Angeles Times, p. B6 (February 4, 2005).
First-round proposals from universities and non-profits may be accepted before biotech-company proposals until certain intellectual-property details are resolved. The University of Wisconsin and Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, CA claim broad commercial rights to any stem-cell-based products.

Oldest American from Ohio, Mrs. Emma Verona Johnston [1890 - 2004]

Emma Verona Johnston

December 3, 2004; Worthington, OH ( AP) America's oldest person, a 114-year-old woman who voted in every election since women earned the right in 1920 and had the thinnest file in her doctor's office, has died. " Verona Johnston died Wednesday at home in Worthington, said her Daughter," Julie Johnson. "She just wore out," Johnson said. "She was still very sharp up until a few months ago." Johnson said her mother was "ready to go," and that shortly before her death she said: "Dying is hard, but everyone has to do it, and I hope I do it well."

Johnston moved to Ohio at age 98 to live with Johnson and her husband, both in their 80s. She was born Aug. 6, 1890, in Indianola, IA. She was the eighth of nine children born to Civil War veteran Joseph Calhoun and Emma Speer Calhoun. Johnston voted in every election since women earned the right in 1920, even casting an absentee ballot in November. Relatives said Johnston lived a wholesome life, rarely visited doctors and never used the deductible on her health insurance policy. The secretary at her doctor's office said "Johnston had the thinnest file on record."

Johnston attended Drake University in Des Moines, where she studied Latin and graduated in 1912. At the time, tuition was $54 per year. Johnston taught Latin in high schools across Iowa. She married Harry Johnston, an Iowa physician who died in 1970. After her husband's death, Johnston traveled across Europe, taking detailed notes to share with friends when she returned. Johnson said her Mother enjoyed books, and read large-print books with a magnifying glass until she had to switch to books on tape.

Johnston's survivors include four Children, 13 Grandchildren, and 23 Great-grandchildren. The oldest living American is now Bettie Wilson of MI, and Hendrikje van Andel of the Netherlands is the world's oldest person, according to The Gerontology Research Group. Both are 114. Van Andel was born June 29, 1890, and Wilson was born on September 13th in that year.[2]. Click on her photo above for more details from The Los Angeles Times [1].


1. Claudia Luther, "Emma Johnston, 114; Ohioan Was Oldest Living American," The Los Angeles Times, p. B (December 3, 2004).
2. "Oldest American dies at 114" USA Today (December 3, 2004).

Chronic Stress Shortens Human Telomeres

December 6, 2004;
Elissa S. Epel, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Jue Lin, Firdaus S. Dhabhar, Nancy E. Adler, Jason D. Morrow, and Richard M. Cawthon, "Accelerated Telomere Shortening in Response to Life Stress," PNAS USA, Vol. 10, p. 1073 (December 1, 2004).

Psychology-Social Sciences:

Elissa S. Epel *, Elizabeth H. Blackburn , Jue Lin , Firdaus S. Dhabhar , Nancy E. Adler *, Jason D. Morrow , and Richard M. Cawthon ||
*Department of Psychiatry
University of California
3333 California Street, Suite 465
San Francisco, CA 94143
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
University of California
San Francisco, CA 94143
Departments of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, and
Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics
College of Medicine
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
Department of Medicine and Pharmacology
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Nashville, TN 37232
||Department of Human Genetics
University of Utah
15 North 2030 East Street, Room 2100
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Contributed by: Elizabeth H. Blackburn, September 28, 2004.

To whom correspondence should be addressed: Elissa S. Epel, E-mail: .


Numerous studies demonstrate links between chronic stress and indices of poor health, including risk factors for cardiovascular disease and poorer immune function. Nevertheless, the exact mechanisms of how stress gets "under the skin" remain elusive. We investigated the hypothesis that stress impacts health by modulating the rate of cellular aging. Here we provide evidence that psychological stress--both perceived stress and chronicity of stress -- is significantly associated with higher oxidative stress, lower telomerase activity, and shorter telomere length, which are known determinants of cell senescence and longevity, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy premenopausal women. Women with the highest levels of perceived stress have telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least one decade of additional aging compared to low-stress women. These findings have implications for understanding how, at the cellular level, stress may promote earlier onset of age-related diseases.

November 30, 2004; Commentary: Prof. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University wrote a Commentary in the same issue of PNAS about the Blackburn team's results regarding the relation between stress and telomere-shortening. It is a scientific tour de force. Such results are rare in science, since no team normally has the resources to work simultaneously at the macro ( integrative) and the micro ( reductionist) levels of science. In one paper, three very different theories of aging have now been shown to be related manifestations of the same underlying mechanism(1) chronic stress, inducing high levels of cortisol in the blood leading to a reduction in immune competence (the Immunological-Surveillance Theory of Aging); (2) increased susceptibility to reactive-oxygen species at the molecular level, causing deleterious glycation and cross-linkage (stiffening) of proteins as well as the loss of fluidity of membranes (the Free-Radical Theory of Aging); and (3) telomere-shortening (loss of function in cells of tissues due to replicative senescence (The Hayflick Limit Theory of Aging). Much more work needs to be accomplished in animal models before we tease out the cause-and-effect relationships among all these parameters. Just saying that shorter telomeres in chronically-stressed mothers is the biomarker-equivalent of accelerated aging by ten years or more doesn't really tell us in the human population whether this results in a true increase in mortality or a reduction in average life expectancy.

Actuaries who compute life-insurance-policy premiums for a living must be brought in to look at this data as well. This is why experimental efforts with mice and monkeys must continue at the National Institute on Aging and in other centers throughout the world, since a reduction in the maximum lifespan (the gold standard of experimental gerontology) of a stressed-out mouse or monkey population vs. controls will be more convincing evidence for a cause-and-effect relationship and not merely an association.

On the flip side of the coin, can a stress-free environment really increase the maximum lifespan of a population? Even with rodents that normally live two to three years, these are long and costly experiments. Finally, the telomere lengths of different strains of mice are quite variable, and we really need to understand rodent telomere/telomerase physiology much better before we can extrapolate these sorts of experiments to humans or to buy stock in companies that own the patents on this technology, like Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, California.


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2004).
2. AP, "Scientists Find Link between Chronic Stress, Accelerating Aging," The Los Angeles Times, p. A25 (November 30, 2004).
3. "Stress Really Does Age People, according to a National Academy of Sciences Study Showing Immune-Cell Erosion in Those under Chronic Pressure," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (November 30, 2004).
4. Benedict Carey, "Stress and Distress May Give Your Genes Gray Hair," The New York Times, p. D5 (November 30, 2004).
5. AP, "Study: Stress Ages Women's Immune Cells," CNN.
6. "Chromosomes Aged Ten Years by Stress," New Scientist (November 30, 2004).
7.Rob Stein, "Study Is First to Confirm That Stress Speeds Aging," The Washington Post , p. A1 (November 30, 2004).

Korean Scientists Reverse Spinal Cord Injury with Stem Cells

Spinal Cord Injury Patient

November 26, 2004; A team of Korean researchers claimed Thursday that they had performed a miracle by enabling a patient, who could not even stand up for the last 19 years, to walk with stem cell therapy. During a press conference, the scientists reported they had transplanted pluripotent stem cells from umbilical cord blood to a 37-year-old female patient suffering from a spinal-cord injury last month, and she can now walk on her own. The team was co-headed by Chosun University professor Song Chang-hun, Seoul National University Professor Kang Kyung-sun and Han Hoon, Ph.D, from the Seoul Cord Blood Bank (SCB).

"The stem cell transplantation was performed on October 12th of this year, and in just three weeks, the patient started to walk with the help of a walker," Song said. The patient's lower limbs were paralyzed after an accident in 1985 damaged her lower back and hips. Afterward, she spent her life in bed or in a wheelchair. For the unprecedented clinical test, the scientists isolated stem cells from umbilical cord blood and then injected them into the damaged part of the spinal cord.

The sensory and motor nerves of the patient started to improve 15 days after the operation, and she could move her hips. After 25 days, her feet responded to stimulation. Earlier in October 2003, Song's team also staged a clinical test with stem cells originating from umbilical cord blood by injecting them into another patient's spine. "Back then, we injected stem cells into spinal fluid and failed to get a good result. This time around, we directly targeted the spine and the method made a difference," Song said.

Song's team looks to further test the efficiency of the new therapy with four more patients as soon as they get the "green light" from the Chosun University Ethics Board and from the government. Song's team plans to report their research to the scientific community as soon as the first half of next year.

Immeasurable Upside Potential

Professor Kang and Han, Song's colleagues who co-led the research, noted the new therapy has a huge upside potential when applied to real treatments, without arousing ethical disputes. Seoul National University Professor Hwang Woo-suk surprised the world last February by announcing his ground-breaking experiment of cloning a human embryo and obtaining stem cells from it. The technology is expected to lead to breakthrough treatments for many hard-to-cure diseases, for instance, by creating replacement organs and tissues.

At the same time, however, the feat also fueled an ethical debate which spans science, politics, and religion, especially regarding the possibility of "human reproductive cloning." In comparison, Kang said "stem cells originating from the blood of umbilical cords would not raise such problems, since this blood is routinely discarded after the birth of a baby. There have been many controversial debates on embryonic stem cells, and also such stem cells are not practical due to their property of possibly causing a teratoma [a form of cancer]," he explained. Kang added that since cord-blood stem cells are more mature than embryonic stem cells, they have a smaller chance of causing a lethal teratoma.

"Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent in that they can divide into any type of cell even including a tumor cell. But cord-blood stem cells are sufficiently developed so as to not cause such problems while simultaneously retaining a powerful capacity for differentiation," he claimed. Another upside of cord-blood stem cells is that they can adapt to the host body without triggering a large negative rejection reaction, which is common with other forms of transplantation, according to Han, Ph.D, of the SCB. "We don't need a strict match between cord-blood type stem cells and the immune system of the patient, since the latter accepts the former pretty well due to its immaturity," Han said.

In other transplantation procedures, even a slight mismatch based on someone's HLA-type (Human Leukocyte Antigen) could cause a catastrophic outcome [anaphylactic shock] secondary to rejection by the host's immune system. The SCB currently retains blood samples from about 45,000 umbilical cords, and they're enough to cover all Koreans. This would amply cover the seemingly-immeasurable potential of this new form of therapy.

Ref.: Kim Tae-gyu, Staff Reporter, "Korean Scientists Succeed in Stem Cell Therapy".

GRG Recommendations for Vitamin E Lowered from 400 ---> 150 iu qd

November 10, 2004; New Orleans, LA ( Reuters) --- Dr. Edgar R. Miller, III of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues reported in an upcoming issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine [1] that too much Vitamin E may actually be bad for you (high doses may increase mortality by 5 percent). Therefore, despite the controversy surrounding this new finding and its acknowledged methodological flaws, we will continue to follow the basic principle of "Do no harm," and are hereby revising our Alpha Tocopherol Bridge Plan Recommendations downward accordingly (see the Resources Section of this website) from [400 - 800] iu per day to 150 iu per day...


Background: Experimental models and observational studies suggest that vitamin E supplementation may prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, several trials of high-dosage vitamin E supplementation showed non statistically significant increases in total mortality.

Purpose: To perform a meta-analysis of the dose response relationship between vitamin E supplementation and total mortality by using data from randomized, controlled trials.

Patients: 135 967 participants in 19 clinical trials. Of these trials, 9 tested Vitamin E alone and 10 tested Vitamin E combined with other vitamins or minerals. The dosages of Vitamin E ranged from 16.5 to 2,000 iu qd (median, 400 iu qd).

Data Sources: PubMed search from [1966 through August 2004], complemented by a search of the Cochrane Clinical Trials Database and review of citations of published reviews and meta-analyses. No language restrictions were applied.

Data Extraction: Three investigators independently abstracted study reports. The investigators of the original publications were contacted if required information was not available.

Data Synthesis: 9 of 11 trials testing high-dosage Vitamin E (400 iu qd) showed increased risk (risk difference > 0) for all-cause mortality in comparisons of Vitamin E vs. control. The pooled all-cause mortality risk difference in high-dosage Vitamin E trials was 39 per 10,000 persons (95% CI, 3 to 74 per 10 000 persons; P = 0.035). For low-dosage Vitamin E trials, the risk difference was 16 per 10 000 persons (CI, 41 to 10 per 10 000 persons; P > 0.2). A dose response analysis showed a statistically-significant relationship between Vitamin E dosage and all-cause mortality, with increased risk of dosages greater than 150 iu qd.

Limitations: High-dosage (400 iu qd) trials were often small and were performed in patients with chronic diseases. The generalizability of the findings to healthy adults is uncertain. Precise estimation of the threshold at which risk increases is difficult.

Conclusion: High-dosage (400 iu qd) Vitamin E supplements may increase all-cause mortality and should be avoided.


1. Edgar R. Miller, III, MD, PhD; Roberto Pastor-Barriuso, PhD; Darshan Dalal, MD, MPH; Rudolph A. Riemersma, PhD, FRCPE; Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH; and Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH, "Review: Meta-Analysis: High-Dosage Vitamin E Supplementation May Increase All-Cause Mortality," Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 142, No. 1 (January 4, 2005).
2. Reuters, "Study: Vitamin E May Do More Harm Than Good: Research Finds those Taking Supplement Died Earlier," CNN (November 10, 2004).
3. Thomas H. Maugh, II and Valerie Reitman, "Study Cites Risks in High Doses of Vitamin E," The Los Angeles Times, p. A22 (November 11, 2004).
4. Jennifer Corbett Dooren, "Vitamin E Supplements Can Pose Serious Risks, A New Study Concludes," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, D1,6 (November 11, 2004).

Sperm-Producing Stem Cells Isolated, Grown

November 6, 2004; Working with mice, Pennsylvania researchers have isolated and grown stem cells that produce sperm, a feat that will allow them to produce massive numbers of sperm cells for research. The feat, reported in PNAS is important because it will allow scientists to modify the sperm genetically, correcting genetic defects or introducing desirable traits. "The technique will initially be used for farm animals and endangered species," said Ralph Brinster of the University of Pennsylvania, "but could ultimately be used on humans."

Ref.: The Los Angeles Times, p. A13 (November 11, 2005).

PLoS Medicine: A Medical Journal for the Internet Age

Heejae Suh: Memories of My Childhood

November 6, 2004; San Francisco, CA; Click on the image above for priceless medical information for free. This new journal focused on world health issues is edited by Messrs. Michael B. Eisen, Patrick O. Brown, and Harold E. Varmus, who are all Co-Founders of the Public Library of Science, which also publishes PLoS Biology with a $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Michael B. Eisen is at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California; Berkeley, CA;
Patrick O. Brown is at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Stanford, CA;
Harold E. Varmus, Nobel Laureate and former Director of NIH, is currently President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; New York, NY;


1. Editorial, "Priceless Information," The Los Angeles Times, p. B20 (November 6, 2004).
2. Bernard Wysocki, Jr., "Journals Resist Free Access to Medical Data," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1, B1, 3 (October 28, 2004).

California Proposition 71 Passes by Wide Margin

November 3, 2004; Sacramento, CA; California Proposition 71, the Stem-Cell Research and Cures Bond Initiative has passed by the relatively wide margin of 59 to 41 percent (only a simple majority was needed for passage). The final tally was...

Yes 5,616,268 59 Percent
No 1,894,561 41 Percent

1. The Los Angeles Times, p. A24 (November 3, 2004).
Photo Caption: "Jubilation: Terry Freeman (L) hugs Bob Klein, a Fresno real-estate developer who helped underwrite Proposition 71."
2. The Los Angeles Times, p. A22 (November 4, 2004).
3. Greg Hitt, "Voters ..." The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 5 (November 3, 2004).
The support of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was extremely important in achieving this result, and we gratefully acknowledge his outstanding help. As you read this message, a California Stem-Cell Research Institute is being formed to issue Requests for Proposals, sell bonds, and allocate research funds. Stay tuned to this Column to learn what the implications of today's developments will be over the coming weeks and months.
4. David P. Hamilton, "California Vote Brings Windfall for Stem Cells," The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, 7 (November 4, 2004).
The measure puts relatively few scientific limits on stem-cell researchers.

Additional References:
1. Editorial, "Now, Spend It Well," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (November 9, 2004).
"Gov. Schwarzenegger and other state officials have just over one month to name the members of the citizen commission that is supposed to supervise the implementation of this measure."

2. .Hollister H. Hovey, "California Funding to Draw Scientists," The Wall Street Journal, p. B3A (November 11, 2004).
"The amount of money that California is putting into the field far eclipses what the Federal government is putting in," said Eve Herold, a Spokeswoman for the Stem Cell Research Foundation in Maryland.

3. Tim Rutten, "Regarding Media: Sudden Focus on 'Moral Values'," The Los Angeles Times, pp. E1, 20 (November 13, 2004).
Mr. Andrew Kohut, Survey Director for The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted a post-election poll with the finding that, "Moral values turn out to be an elastic 'catch-all phrase,' and when you compare our findings to what people say they really believe about certain specific issues, it's pretty clear that there has been no change in what the electorate is like and that includes the electorate that returned George W. Bush to office. Attitudes on abortion, gay marriage, and stem-cell research, to cite just three examples, actually are remarkably stable." ... It's just that some concepts with a religious origin seem to penetrate our collective psyche to the point that they trigger nearly autonomic emotional reflexes."
4. Constance Holden, "Wisconsin Proposes Stem-Cell Boost," Science, Vol. 306, No. 5701, p. 1455 (November 26, 2004).
Wisconsin Governor James Doyle, said "There are plans for $750 million in stem-cell and related studies with $500 million in new facilities and research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. WiCell researcher Dr. James Thomson will have a 'central role' in the larger plans."

Supercentenarians Discussed at the Anti-Aging Conference in Las Vegas

Working Group on Supercentenarians

October 31, 2004; The Third Plenary Session of the Las Vegas Anti-Aging Conference discussed the topic of Supercentenarians in some detail. Despite the early 6:30 AM hour on a Sunday morning, an 18-member Working Group was established to further the direction of research for this important emerging subject area. FYI, additional photos from this Conference can be found in the Meetings Section of this website.

Smaller Estimate for Number of Human Genes

DNA/Lenardo da Vinci

October 20, 2004; New York, NY ( AP and CNN) -- How many genes does it take to make a human? Only about the same number it takes for a small flowering plant or a tiny worm, says a new estimate that's sharply reduced from just three years ago. "We (humans) don't look very impressive in the competition," said Dr. Francis Collins, Co-author of the new analysis by the international group that decoded the human genome. The new estimate is [20 - 25],000 genes, a drop from the [30 - 40],000 the same group of scientists published in 2001.

By comparison, the tiny roundworm C. elegans, a favorite research subject, has around 19,500 genes. A small flowering plant in the mustard family, Arabidopsis, has about 27,000. "But the complexity of the human body arises from more than just its genetic 'parts list'," experts said. "It's not just the number of genes that matters," said another Co-author, Dr. Eric Lander of The Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. "It really is how Nature uses these genes."

Scientists have long speculated about how many genes people have. Some have put it at 100,000 or more, and the genome project's initial figure fell in the low end of estimates when it was announced. In a betting pool among scientists that ran from [2000 - 2003], the average guess before the consortium published its estimate in 2001 was about 66,000 genes. Afterward, the average dropped to about 44,000. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, put his money on about 48,000 genes when the contest began. That's about twice the new estimate. "Oh well," he said this week, "live and learn." Like the betting pool, the new estimate deals only with genes that tell cells how to make proteins. It is reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature by the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, which had determined the sequence of nearly all of the 3-billion-plus chemical building blocks that make up the human DNA code. Certain sequences of these building blocks make up genes, just like certain sequences of letters create words. When the consortium produced its 2001 gene-count estimate, it still had many gaps in the DNA sequence it had determined. Now the scientists have closed those gaps as much as they can with current technology.

The finished version reveals that many DNA sequences originally counted as genes were actually non-functioning copies of real genes and that sometimes parts of the same gene were counted as two genes, Lander said. Scientists said the new range appears to be firm, especially with 20,000 at the lower end, because laboratory work has independently demonstrated that 19,599 genes exist. Gerald Rubin, a gene expert at the University of California, Berkeley, who did not participate in the analysis, said the result "is as good a guess as one can make at this point.... I think the estimate is unlikely to change very much." "We just have to get used to the fact that we don't have many more genes than a worm," Rubin said.

So how can humans be so complex with relatively few genes? In comparison to simpler organisms, Collins said, humans benefit more from genes that turn out multiple proteins rather than one, and from complex proteins that do more than one job. And anyway, lots of biological complexity is based not on individual proteins but on combinations, which can create lots of variety from the proteins found in people, he said. Lander said he's not concerned that the number of human genes has turned out to be so limited. "To the contrary, I think it's great!"


1. "Scientists Slash Estimated Number of Human Genes," CNN (October 20, 2004).
2. "People Have Fewer Genes Than Previously Thought," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (October 21, 2004).
3. AP, "Key to Human Complexity Is Not Number of Genes," The Los Angeles Times, p. A29 (October 23, 2004).
"In a blow to human vanity, researchers now say that people have about the same number of genes as some worm or plant. The new estimate [for humans] is down sharply from just three years ago."
[ Editorial: The insidious "human vanity" part of the sentence above needs to be highlighted for special attention. Just because we're the one's visiting the zoos of the world with our kids, and it's not us sitting in a cage being viewed by another species that has incarcerated us for its own amusement, doesn't mean that we're better in every way from our brethren inhabitants of the surface of this planet -- that we're God's chosen species and therefore, as a corollary, now obliged to provide stewardship for the rest of His creatures. How self-indulgent! We are just another species. God is always experimenting with new species. We could become extinct like numerous others before us without His shedding a tear. There is a certain (Divinely intentional) intrinsic rate of uncorrected mutations prevalent in DNA repair enzymes that leads to speciation as a process (formation of new species). When we do a computer-based homology search for genes across different species, if we bias our observations with the false notion that humans must have more genes or in some other way we can use the genome to explain our obvious-to-us wonderfulness (phenotypic complexity or whatever), we are going to make scientific mistakes, that are likely to slow down our rate of new discoveries. Please, let's disabuse ourselves of this foolish vanity and get on with the real job of "reading the book of life."]
4. International Human Henome Sequencing Consortium (including Francis S. Collins, Eric S. Lander, J Rogers, and R. H. Waterston), "Finishing the Euchromatic Sequence of the Human Genome," Nature, Vol. 431, pp. 931 - 945 (October 21, 2004).

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to Francis S. Collins: (, Eric S. Lander (, J. Rogers (, or R. H. Waterston (
The sequence described here has been deposited in public databases, with the 24 human chromosomes having accession numbers NC000001 to NC000024.


The sequence of the human genome encodes the genetic instructions for human physiology, as well as rich information about human evolution. In 2001, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium reported a draft sequence of the euchromatic portion of the human genome. Since then, the international collaboration has worked to convert this draft into a genome sequence with high accuracy and nearly complete coverage. Here, we report the result of this finishing process. The current genome sequence (Build 35) contains 2.85 billion nucleotides interrupted by only 341 gaps. It covers 99 percent of the euchromatic genome and is accurate to an error rate of 1 event per 100,000 bases. Many of the remaining euchromatic gaps are associated with segmental duplications and will require focused work with new methods. The near-complete sequence, the first for a vertebrate, greatly improves the precision of biological analyses of the human genome including studies of gene number, birth and death. Notably, the human enome seems to encode only [20 25],000 protein-coding genes. The genome sequence reported here should serve as a firm foundation for biomedical research in the decades ahead.

Governor of California Endorses Prop. 71

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

October 18, 2004; Carmel, CA ( AP) -- With a beach-side Pacific-Ocean backdrop and TV-cameras rolling, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger surprised reporters attending an otherwise standard press conference as he endorsed a $3-billion bond measure that would fund human embryonic stem-cell research. This move violates the Republican Party platform and White House policy (central dogma of the Bush Administration). "Social conservatives might be unhappy, but I've never been their favorite anyway," Schwarzenegger said. He added, "I support stem-cell research." His father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, is in the early grips of Alzheimer's Disease, which supporters of the measure say could someday be treated with stem-cell therapy. Click on the Governor's photo for the full story from CNN.


1. "Schwarzenegger Backs Stem-Cell Plan: Governor Bucks GOP to Endorse Bond to Fund Research," CNN (October 19, 2004).
2. Joe Mathews and Megan Garvey, "Governor Breaks Ranks Toward Center: Schwarzenegger's Backing of a $3-Billion Stem-Cell Initiative and a Blanket Primary Goes Against His Party's Positions. The Measures are Narrowly Ahead in the Polls. His Support Could Tip the Balance," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 21 (October 19, 2004).
3. Robert Salladay, "Surprise, Party: Governor Really Is an Outsider," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 24 (October 20, 2004).
As a result of all the TV commercials running in the past few weeks, the number of undecided voters has shrunk considerably. According to the latest LA Times poll, even if all the "undecided California registered voters" voted against Prop. 71 as a block on election day, we are confident that we would still have the simple majority needed to defeat those who are against the measure...
For: 53 percent;
Against: 34 percent;
Undecided: 13 percent.
The "Yeson71" Lobbyists have a war chest of $22 million, while the "No Forces" have only $200,000 and have no TV commercials planned.

Surgeon General Warns about Osteoporosis

Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona

October 14, 2004; Washington, D.C. ( AP) - Half of all older Americans will have bone-thinning osteoporosis or be at high risk of getting it by 2020 -- unless they start strengthening their bones now with a boost of Calcium, Vitamin D, and Exercise, the Surgeon General warned Thursday. Weak bones, from osteoporosis and a variety of other bone diseases, aren't a natural part of aging, Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona stressed, though the risk of osteoporosis does increase over age 50. But often doctors are just as guilty as their patients in overlooking the risk -- even forgetting to check bone density when middle-age or older patients suffer fractures.

"Osteoporosis isn't just your grandmother's disease," Carmona said in releasing the first Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health. "You are never too old or too young to improve your bone health."

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 10 million Americans, and each year, about 1.5 million of them suffer a fracture as a result. Another 34 million Americans have less severe bone thinning that increases their risk. Women are at particular risk, especially white women. But osteoporosis does affect men, too, and people of all races -- a risk that increases over age 50 as it becomes harder for new bone to form.

Osteoporosis is an under-diagnosed disease, because many people don't know their bones are thinning until one breaks, the report notes. For older people especially, fractures are much more than nuisance: Nearly one in five hip-fracture patients winds up in a nursing home, and their risk of death during the next few months is up to four times greater than that of similarly aged people with healthy bones. Yet, the report found that in one study, only one-eighth to a quarter of patients who had a hip fracture were given a bone-density test to check the severity of their bone-thinning. Also, fewer than a quarter were given Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements to help build up their bones, and fewer than a tenth were prescribed effective osteoporosis drugs.

The new report makes a series of recommendations:

# Strong bones begin in childhood with proper Calcium and Vitamin D. Recommended amounts vary by age, but about three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat milk a day -- combined with Calcium from the rest of a normal diet -- is enough to meet most people's needs. Calcium is present in other foods, too, such as broccoli and fortified orange juice; Vitamin D also is added to certain foods and can be absorbed from sunshine. But many people also require supplements to get enough.

# Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and children 60 minutes, including weight-bearing activities that improve bone strength and balance.

# Older people should minimize the risk of falls by moving flimsy rugs or other items they might trip over, improving lighting and getting vision checks.

# All women over 65 and any man or woman who suffers even a minor fracture after age 50 needs a bone-density test.

# Doctors should look for warning signs of bone thinning, including people under 50 who have had multiple fractures. Also at risk are those who take medications, such as steroid-containing drugs, or who have hormonal, kidney or other diseases that over time can thin bones.


1. "Surgeon General: Boost Bone Health: Half of Older Americans Could Have Osteoporosis by 2020," CNN (October 14, 2004).
2. Emma Schwartz, "Osteoporosis Emerges as Growing Public Threat: Surgeon General Urges Men As Well As Women to Guard Against the Bone-Wasting Disease," The Los Angeles Times, p. A20 (October 15, 2004).

Michael J. Fox Supports California Ballot Proposition 71

Michael J. Fox

October 14, 2004; Click on the photo above of TV actor, Michael J. Fox, now diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, for a 30-second political advertisement endorsing Prop. 71. This ad is already playing, and it aired for the first time on NBC-TV, Chnl. 4, during Jay Leno's Tonight Show at ~12:10 AM PDT last night.

Christopher Reeve [1952 - 2004]

Christopher Reeve Christopher Reeve on Cover of Newsweek

October 11, 2004; Reeve died in the hospital yesterday following complications of a systemic infection. He was 52. Reeve was mentioned by Sen. John Kerry during the debate last Friday night. Kerry said, "Chris is a friend of mine." Reeve died of a heart failure while in a coma secondary to a systemic bacterial infection due to pressure sores that regularly became infected. They take a very long time to heal, even when treated with antibiotics. Pressure sores invariably happen when one doesn't move one's weight from one location to another over many hours, something non-disabled people are always doing unconsciously. Even while asleep, people are moving constantly.


1. "Christopher Reeve Dies at 52: 'Superman' Actor Known for Activism in Spinal-Cord Research," CNN (October 10, 2004).
2. Eric Slater, "Christopher Reeve, 52; Paralysis Did Stop Star of 'Superman'," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, B9 (October 11, 2004).
3. October 11, 2004; Palo Alto, CA -- Mr. Robert Klein, Chairman of "Yes on Proposition 71," the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, issued the following statement on the passing of Christopher Reeve - On behalf of the entire "Yes on Prop 71" family, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Christopher Reeve. "Christopher was a determined and tireless advocate of stem-cell research. His eloquence and passion helped raise awareness about the potential benefits of this important new frontier in medicine. "His passing is a tremendous loss for the patient advocate community across our country. Our thoughts and prayers are with Christopher and his family."
4. Eric Slater, "Christopher Reeve, 52; 'Superman' Actor, Advocate for Disabled," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (October 12, 2004).
5. Editorial, "He Walked the Talk," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (October 12, 2004).
6. "Died: Chritopher Reeve, 52, "Superman" actor who was paralyzed in a 1995 fall from a horse and became a star advocate of stem-cell research, Sunday, in Mount Kisco, NY, as a bedsore infection led to complications." The Walls Street Journal, p. A1 (October 12, 2004).
7. Douglas Martin, "Christopher Reeve, 52, Symbol of Courage, Dies," The New York Times, pp. A1, 29 (October 12, 2004).
8. "The Battle Over Stem Cells: The Death Of Christopher Reeve Highlighting Stem-Cell Research as a Wedge Issue in the Election, Could Swing Voters: Private Funding Helping Researchers, but They Fear The Loss of Scientists to Less Controversial Research or Overseas Work,"
October 17, 2004; New York, NY ( PRNewswire) -- Actor Michael J. Fox, diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991 and visibly ailing, sat in the front row at last week's presidential debate. Fox is a staunch supporter of stem-cell research and has, in recent weeks, become Senator John Kerry's ambassador for the cause. It didn't bother Fox that the subject barely came up or that his presence was largely symbolic. "I'm happy I could do it. If anyone saw me there, they know that the issue is important to [Kerry]," he tells Newsweek Magazine (October 25, 2004). 9. Daniel J. Brauner, M.D., Chicago, IL, Letter to the Editor, "For the Immobile, a Silent Killer," The New York Times, p. D4, (October 19, 2004).
10. "YesOn71 Launches California Statewide TV Ad Featuring Christopher Reeve," (October 22, 2004).
Los Angeles, CA --- Proponents of Yes on Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, today announced the launch of a new television ad featuring Christopher Reeve that calls on voters to support the initiative. The 30-second television ad features actor/patient-advocate Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in an equestrian competition in 1995. Mr. Reeve passed away on October 10, 2004 from heart failure. Mr. Reeve not only put a human face on spinal cord injury but he motivated neuroscientists around the world to conquer the most complex diseases of the brain and central nervous system. He founded the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which has funded $48 million in research grants. Christopher Reeve strongly supported Proposition 71. His family and his Foundation wanted the people of California to see this recently recorded message," said Ms. Kathy Lewis, President and CEO for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. "Prop 71 offers hope to millions of Americans living with debilitating and chronic conditions. We applaud California's leadership to advance this important avenue of research."
In the ad, Reeve states, "My Foundation supports cutting edge research. And we are proud proud supporters of Prop 71. Stem cells have already cured paralysis in animals. Stem cells are the future of medicine. Please support Prop 71. And, stand up for those who can't. Thank you.
11. Jeffrey M. Drazen, M.D., Editor-in-Chief, Editorial "Embryonic Stem-Cell Research - The Case for Federal Funding," The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 351, No. 17, pp. 1789-90 (October 21, 2004).
"In the debate between those who support Federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research and those who do not, a critical point has been overlooked. Research using this technology is strongly supported in a number of countries, including Australia, Israel, the Czech Republic, Singapore, South Korea, and the UK. Others in the world appreciate the potential of this technology. If we continue to prevent Federal funds from being used to support this research in the United States, the ability of our biomedical scientists to compete with other research teams throughout the world will be undermined. No matter how hard we try, we cannot legislate an end to a process of discovery that many in this country and elsewhere in the world consider ethically justifiable. The work will go on - but outside the United States... If we fail to bring the necessary research technology into the mainstream now, our children and grandchildren may need to leave the United States to benefit from treatments other nations are currently developing... As journal Editors, we undertake to review dispassionately any work on stem cells that is submitted to us. We pledge to report true advances. But for us to do so, the journey must be started. As each significant step brings us closer to the goal, we will be there to report the progress; it would be nice if some of this progress could be made within the United States."
12. Four Letters to the Editor, "Embryonic Stem-Cell Research," The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 351, No. 17, pp. 1797-8 (October 21, 2004).

After CC the Cat, Two New Frisky Felines Are Cloned

Baba Ganoush and Tabouleh.

October 10, 2004; Tabouleh and Baba Ganoush are two new cloned bengal kittens produced by the Northern-California-based firm Genetics Savings & Clone exhibited at the Annual Two-Day Cat Show in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Chief Executive Lou Hawthorne said his company had also produced Peaches, an 8 1/2-week-old clone, and would have cloned nine kittens by year's end.


1. "Cloned Felines Are the Cat's Meow at N.Y. Show," The Los Angeles Times (October 10, 2004).
2. Alan Zarembo, "$50,000 Cloned Kitten Truly Isn't One of a Kind: A Texas Woman Whose Cat Died Pays a Northern California Biotech Company for a Replica. 'I Have Not Been Able to See One Difference.' She Says," The Los Angeles Times, p. A1, 18 (December 23, 2004).
The Los Angeles Times, "Cloned Cat Sells for $50,000: Texas Woman Says Kitten Is Identical to Her Dead Pet," The Washington Post, p. A2 (December 24, 2005).
Little Nicky and Julie
The Maine coon cat was named Little Nicky after the original Nicky who died in 2003 at the age of 17. The owner, Julie from the Dallas area, had her photo taken with her new kitten of 8 weeks, but would not reveal her last name (presumably, on the grounds of privacy for her husband's sake).
3. "The First Custom-Cloned Pet Was Delivered to a Texas Woman, a $50,000 Copy of a Much- Missed Cat. Genetic Savings & Clone plans a dog in May," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (December 23, 2005).
4. Antonio Regalado, "With Public Wary, Cloning Scientists Watch Their Words: Dr. Schatten Wants to Copy a Monkey, But Declares He Won't Try Humans," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 10 (December 22, 2004).
Dr Schatten is now trying the South Korean approach to cloning, which is to enucleate the donor egg with a "squishing and squeezing" technique rather than puncturing the membrane with a thin glass catheter and sucking the nucleus out which, as a side effect, may inadvertently remove species-specific proteins that may be anchored to the nuclear membrane and that are essential for subsequent development. "Success depends critically on the manipulative skills of a technician using a specialized high-resolution microscope," said Dr. Schatten.

Maurice Wilkins [1916 - 2004]

Dr. Maurice Wilkins.

October 6, 2004; London, UK - Maurice Wilkins, who shared a Nobel Prize with Messrs. Watson and Crick for the discovery of the structure of DNA, died yesterday at age 88. Wilkins was still a member of the staff at King's College London, where he had worked since 1946.


Usha Lee McFarling, "Maurice Wilkins, 88; Had Role in Discovery of DNA," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, B10 (October 7, 2004).

UC Irvine Professor Shares 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Dr. Irwin A. Rose (R) and Israeli Colleagues.

October 6, 2004; Stockholm, SWEDEN - Ubiquitin has been identified as a protein whose purpose is to mark other proteins for destruction by cellular organelles known as proteasomes.


Thomas H. Maugh, II, "UC Irvine Researcher Shares the Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Emeritus Professor Irwin A. Rose and Two Israeli Colleagues are Honored for Discoveries on Human Cells Crucial to Fighting Diseases," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1,8 (October 7, 2004).

Two American Scientists Share Nobel Prize in Medicine

Dr. Linda B. Buck.

October 5, 2004; Stockholm, SWEDEN -- U.S scientists Richard Axel and Linda Buck have won the 2004 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for research explaining how our human sense of smell really works. They will jointly receive $1.35 million on December 10th in Stockholm. Bloodhounds have 13,000 different olfactory receptor genes; while there are about [1,000 - 1,500] in mice ([1 - 5] percent of the murine genome) and only [350 - 400] in humans. We actually have something like [900 - 1,000] olfactory genes in our genome, but most of them have become vestigial, since our biological survival did not depend as much on smell as it does for canines or rodents, and so there was a continuous "disuse atrophy," given a certain natural background rate of mutations that takes place in all genomes. Yet with only 350 receptors, we can still recognize up to 10,000 different scents, as each chemical odor generates a neural/sensory profile with its own characteristic "smell signature."


1. Antonio Regalado, "U.S. Scientists Win Nobel Prize for Work on Smell," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B14 (October 5, 2004).
2. Thomas H. Maugh, II, "A Nobel for Explaining How the Nose Knows: Two Win Nobel for Deciphering Sense of Smell," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 4 (October 5, 2004).
3. Lawrence K. Altman, "Unraveling Engma of Smell Wins Nobel for Two Americans," The New York Times, pp. A1, 18 (October 4, 2004).
4. "Smell Study Nets Americans Nobel U.S.: Scientists First to Explain How Sense of Smell Works," CNN (October 3, 2004).

First Baby Born Using Frozen Autologous Ovarian Tissue Transplant

Tamara from Belgium.
One day-old baby girl Tamara sleeps in her mother's arms.

September 24, 2004; Click on the photo above for details. The Donnez team in Brussels reported that they still have frozen ovarian tissue from 146 women patients. One other patient has had tissue re-implanted, but has not yet become pregnant.


1. Antonio Regalado, "Baby Is Delivered of Ovarian Tissue Previously Frozen," The Wall Street Journal, p. B3 (September 24, 2004).
2. Thomas H. Maugh, II, "Healthy Belgian Baby Is Born Using Harvested Ovarian Tissue," The Los Angeles Times, p. A15 (September 24, 2004).
3. J. Donnez, M. M. Dolmans, D. Demylle, P. Jadoul, C. Pirard, J. Squifflet, B. Martinez-Madrid, and A. Van Langendonckt, "Livebirth after Orthotopic Transplantation of Cryopreserved Ovarian Tissue," The Lancet, Vol. 364, No. 9440 (September 24, 2004).



The lifesaving treatment endured by cancer patients leads, in many women, to early menopause and subsequent infertility. In clinical situations for which chemotherapy needs to be started, ovarian tissue cryopreservation looks to be a promising option to restore fertility. In 1997, biopsy samples of ovarian cortex were taken from a woman with stage IV Hodgkin's lymphoma and cryopreserved before chemotherapy was initiated. After her cancer treatment, the patient had premature ovarian failure.


In 2003, after freeze-thawing, orthotopic autotransplantation of ovarian cortical tissue was done by laparoscopy.


Five months after reimplantation, basal body temperature, menstrual cycles, vaginal ultrasonography, and hormone concentrations indicated recovery of regular ovulatory cycles. Laparoscopy at 5 months confirmed the ultrasonographic data and showed the presence of a follicle at the site of reimplantation, clearly situated outside the ovaries, both of which appeared atrophic. From [5 - 9] months, the patient had menstrual bleeding and development of a follicle or corpus luteum with every cycle. 11 months after reimplantation, human chorionic gonadotrophin concentrations and vaginal echography confirmed a viable intrauterine pregnancy, which has resulted in a livebirth.


We have described a livebirth after orthotopic autotransplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue. Our findings suggest that cryopreservation of ovarian tissue should be offered to all young women diagnosed with cancer. The Lancet (September 24, 2004).

Los Angeles Times Poll: Californians Favor Stem-Cell [Proposition 71]

September 23, 2004 ( Los Angeles Times) -- With television advertising campaigns about to begin, California voters currently favor two closely watched ballot initiatives -- one authorizing $3 billion in bonds for research using stem cells taken from embryos..., according to a new Los Angeles Times Poll. ...

Current Results for Proposition 71 (with 39 days remaining before November 2nd):

Voters for = 54 percent
Voters opposed = 32 percent
Voters undecided = 14 percent

After being read the ballot descriptions, those registered voters who are most likely to vote in November said by 54 percent to 32 percent that they planned to support Proposition 71, which would provide a 10-year, $3 billion state fund for embryonic stem cell research. 14 percent said they remained undecided.

The poll, supervised by Times poll director Susan Pinkus, surveyed 1,320 registered voters of whom 861 were considered likely to vote in November. It was conducted statewide from September 17th-21st. The margin of sampling error is +/-3 percentage points A major factor in the initiative campaigns could be advertising. Voters generally reported low awareness of the initiatives.

Supporters of the initiative have raised more than $13 million and plan to kick off an intensive television campaign Friday. Opponents have raised less than $200,000 and say they will rely on news coverage and less expensive efforts to get their message across. A statement opposing the measure, for example, was distributed in some Catholic churches recently, reflecting the position of the state's bishops.


1. Megan Garvey, "...Voters Favor Funding Stem-Cell Research...," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1,30 (September 24, 2004).

2. Eric Slater, "Stem-Cell Supporters Launch Ad Campaign," The Los Angeles Times, p. B5 (September 24, 2004).

3. Greg Johnson, "Morality Goes Mum in Stem-Cell Fight," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (September 29, 2004).
"Proposition 71 foes realize that California is a pro-choice state. That's why they are stressing the research price tag."

4. Bloomberg News, "Stem-Cell Lab in California is Planned: Advanced Cell [Technologies of Worcester, MA] Is Encouraged by a Ballot Initiative that Would Guarantee $3 Billion in State Funding to Support the Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. C9 (September 30, 2004).

5. "Scientific American Magazine Stem-Cell Panel Highlights Divisions Over Cloning Underlying Debate On Embryonic Stem Cell Research" (September 30, 2004).

6. Editorial, "Yes to Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. M4 (October 3, 2004).
To my knowledge, the first formal endorsement of Prop. 71 by this newspaper.

7. View four different 30-second TV Commercials prepared by the "Yeson71" Campaign in either a RealOne or QuickTime Player that will be running on both commercial and Cable TV during the month of October:

(1) Dr. Paul Berg, Ph.D., Nobel Prize Winner from Stanford;
(2) Dr. Irving Weissman, M.D., California Scientist of the Year (2002) and Cancer Researcher at Stanford University Medical School;
(3) Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone, Ph.D., Director of the UCSF Diabetes Center; and
(4) Mrs. June Gutierrez, a young California mother who was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and her Daughter, Leilani, who was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002.

8. "Voter's Official Guide for the Propositions" (Office of Elections; State of California, Sacramento, CA; November 3, 2004).

[ Editorial: The Official State of California Voter Information Pamphlet with Pro and Con arguments for each Proposition has not been mailed out to voters yet [ Editor's Note: I received my 166-page booklet covering 15 different propositions on Saturday, October 2nd. Nevertheless, I managed to find an early Internet version published on the Official Website of the State of California cited in Ref. 8 above. So, in particular, I looked for Prop. 71 to find a number of "pdf" files (for which you must first install an Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 (freeware download)) like "Prop 71 Ballot Title and Summary" to find the arguments both Pro and Con. Following what now looks like a standard generic format of six persons or institutions endorsing for each of the two sides, there were three persons who signed up for the "In Favor" Arguments:

1. Alan D. Cherrington, Ph.D. President of the American Diabetes Association;
2. Carolyn Aldige, President of the National Coalition for Cancer Research (NCCR); and
3. Joan Samuelson, President of the Parkinson's Action Network.

And there were three more who signed up for the "Rebuttal to Arguments Against":

4. Leon Thal, M.D., Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center of UCSD;
5. Paul Berg, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Professor of Cancer Research at Stanford University Medical Center; and
6. Roger Guillemin, M.D., Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Professor of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA.

No big surprises so far.

For the "Rebuttal to Argument in Favor" we had three signers:

1. Judy Norsigian, Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves;
2. Francine Coeytaux, Founder of Pacific Institute for Women's Health; and
3. Tina Stevens, Ph.D., Bioethics in America: Origins and Cultural Politics.

Finally, for the "Argument Against" we had three signers:

4. Tom McClintock, California State Senator (R) from Thousand Oaks, CA;
(McClintock's arguments, as I understand them, are essentially based on a philosophy of fiscal conservatism, which makes sense in that he says, "It's a good idea, but why should I have to pay for it?);
5. John M. W. Moorlach, CPA and Orange County Treasurer; and
6. H. Rex Greene, M.D., Cancer Center Director and Bioethics Consultant.

In the coming weeks, I will personally investigate these six latter individuals and their associated organizations to find out "what they were smoking," since the arguments were, as far as I could tell, nearly incoherent. It's almost like I was being subjected to the fantasy arguments of a lunatic who had just escaped from an insane asylum or someone who pretended to be a native speaker of the English language (with excellent syntax) but who had the semantic/pragmatic understanding of a four-year old child. (Is there is anyone out there who knows more about these people and their hidden agendas? If so, please get in touch with me.) Stay tuned for a follow-up Editorial in one more week, after I get my research done.]

9. Matea Gold and Edwin Chen, "Bush, Kerry Press Ahead: President Trumpets a Tax Cut While Senator Rails at Stem-Cell Restrictions...," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1,18 (October 5, 2004).
10. "Kerry Said Bush Is Letting "Right Wing Ideology" Hurt Stem-Cell Research...," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (October 5, 2004).
11. Jodi Wilgoren, "The Democratic Nominee Kerry Takes on Bush Over Stance on Stem-Cell Research ," The New York Times, pp. A16 (October 5, 2004).
12. Three Letters to the Editor, "Disagreement Over Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (October 5, 2004).
13. "Kerry: Expand Federal Research Using Stem Cells: Decries 'The President Who Turns His Back on Science' John Kerry spoke Monday on Medical Research at Winnacunnet High School in Portsmouth, NH" CNN (October 4, 2004).
Hampton, NH ( AP) -- Democratic Sen. John Kerry said Monday that President Bush has sacrificed hopes for disease cures offered by stem-cell research to "extreme right-wing ideology."
14. Nancy Vogel and Dan Morain, "Spending on Props. May Set a Record," The Los Angeles Times, pp. B1,8 (October 8, 2004).
"More than $20 million has been spent on Prop. 71. Stem-cell research that was made ineligible for Federal money by President Bush in 2001 would be funded with a $3 billion state bond under Proposition 71. Financial donors to the campaign include biotechnology companies, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Los Angeles developer Eli Broad and Robert Klein, II, a Fresno real-estate developer whose son suffers form diabetes. Opponents report less than $50,000 cash on hand. The biggest donor to the anti-Proposition 71 cause has been an Irvine company owned by conservative philanthropist Howard Ahamanson, Jr."
15. Laura Mecoy, "Kerry Pushing Stem-Cell Message: Michael J. Fox Joins the Fight with an Ad on Disease Research," Bee Los Angeles Bureau (October 8, 2004).
16. CNN (University of Washington; St. Louis, MO; Friday, October 8, 2004; ~7:15 PM PDT).
2nd Public Debate Between Sen. Kerry and President Bush regarding stem-cell research:
Kerry: "We can save lives, with ethically guided embryonic stem-cell research. Scientists say research will lead to cures for major diseases and spinal cord injuries. "I think it is respecting life to reach for that cure."
Bush: Embryonic stem-cell research requires destroying life. We need to be very careful about balancing ethics and science. Adult stem-cell research needs more funding.
17. Letter to the Editor, Dennis Crispin of Thousand Oaks, CA, The Los Angeles Times, p. M4 (October 19, 2004).
18. Greg Lucas, Sacramento Bureau Chief, "Election 2004: Stem-Cell Bond Measure Favored in Poll: California Would Put $3 Billion in Research under Proposition 71" (October 10, 2004).
Sacramento, CA -- A November Ballot Measure that would require the state to issue bonds to pay for stem-cell research "is favored by 46 percent of likely voters and opposed by 39 percent," according to a Field Poll released today. Voters who were aware of Proposition 71 before being polled supported it by a much wider margin -- 58 percent to 34 percent -- suggesting that the more than $21 million spent in support of the measure is swaying opinion.
19. Matt Surman, Associated Press Writer, "DNA Pioneer Defends Stem Cell Research,"
Berlin, GERMANY (AP) -- Nobel Laureate James Watson, Ph.D., the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, on Monday defended stem-cell research, saying researchers must be able to search for ways to improve quality of life despite the field's uncertainties. "I think there's a perception that scientists are more interested in science than society, that scientists are less moral than religious people," the 76-year-old Watson said at the opening of a Berlin exhibit on his life and books. "I think that's completely wrong." "To what extent research on stem cells will improve the quality of human life, I don't know, but we should be allowed to try," he told reporters at the Berlin Medical History Museum at the Charite Medical School. U.S. President George W. Bush has limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to only the 78 stem-cell lines in existence on August 9, 2001. Embryonic stem cells are master cells that form during the early days after conception and can turn into any tissue in the body. Many scientists hope to harness them one day to grow replacement tissue to treat spinal cord injuries as well as diabetes and other diseases. Some oppose the research on ethical grounds because a human embryo is destroyed to gather new stem cells. Watson, an American, was 24 when he and the British-born Francis Crick, working at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory in 1953, struck upon the idea that the DNA molecule resembles a twisted ladder, or "double helix." Decades later the impact can be seen everywhere: in the biotechnology industry, in pursuing gene therapy to treat disease, and in helping police solve crimes through DNA evidence. Watson and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1962. Since then, Watson has written several books - including memoirs "The Double Helix" and "Genes, Girls, and Gamow" - in part to bring science closer to mainstream readers. He is currently at work on an autobiography, "Manners for Science." Berlin's exhibit features articles about Watson and selections from his work and personal history.
20. Rachel Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer, "Brown to Hold Forum on Stem-Cell Research in San Francisco: Scientists, Politicians to Discuss Issue on Nov. 2nd Ballot" (October 12, 2004).
21. George Skelton, "Is Stem-Cell Research the Next Big Thing for California?" The Los Angeles Times, p. B6 (October 14, 2004).
22. Dan Morain, "Gov. Makes His Pitch: Schwarzenegger Dispatches Five-Million Mailers Asking Voters to Follow His Lead on Some Ballot Propositions," The Los Angeles Times, p. B18 (October 15, 2004).
Conspicuously absent from the Governor's list of recommendations on ballot initiatives, however, was any mention of Prop. 71 --- Yes or No. The Republican Party is officially opposed to the measure, and although the Governor is a Republican-in-name, he is quite independent on many issues. Recall that his wife, Maria, is a strong Democrat and she may have influenced his thinking in this area.
23. Six Letters to the Editor, "Stem-Cell Divisions," The Los Angeles Times, p. B21 (October 16, 2004).
24. AP, "Kerry Talks Stem Cells in Radio Address, Seattle PI (October 16, 2004).
25. Editorial, "Times Endorsements," The Los Angeles Times, p. M4 (October 17, 2004).
Proposition 71: Yes. "Bond measures are typically used to pay for infrastructure improvements, not things like medical research. But by generating $3 billion for research into embryonic stem cells, this measure could lead not just to cures but biotech innovations that would bolster the state's economy. Its passage would also send a Bronx cheer to the Bush Administration for its foolishly restrictive policy on stem cells."
26. Rosie Mestel and Megan Garpey, "Stem-Cell Debate Focuses on Morality and Money: Stem-Cell Research on the Line in California: Debate over Stem Cells," The Los Angeles Times, p. A1, 36-7 (October 17, 2004).
This well-written essay on Prop. 71 (with the exception of an error regarding Sickle Cell Anemia), covers all the bases - with a brief mentions of Drs. Hans Keirstead (UC Irvine), [Tom Okarma] (Geron, Menlo Park) Fred Gage (Salk Institute, La Jolla), James Thomson (Wisconsin), Irving Weissman (Stanford), Anthony Blau (Univ. or Washington, Seattle), Leonard Zon (Harvard), Catherine Verfaillie (Minnesota), and David Baltimore (President of CalTech).
27. Gretchen Vogel and David Malakoff, "Voters Warm to California Stem-Cell Measure," Science, Vol 306, No. 5695, p. 389 (October 15, 2004).

Patient Advocacy Groups and Hollywood Stars Endorse Prop. 71 at Outdoor Press Conference

September 14, 2004; 10:00 AM PDT; Beverly Hills, CA -- At a well attended Press Conference at Cedars Sinai Medical Center that I attended, Dustin Hoffman and Edward James Olmos (who spoke to the cameras in both English and Spanish) strongly endorsed Prop. 71. Click on the first Reference to see a short video-clip of this event using a Windows Media or RealOne Player.


1. Click for ABC-TV Eyewitness News at 5:00 PM (September 14, 2004; TRT = 3:04 sec; ~11 MB in "*.wmv" format).
2. Click for Lena Dionne's video clip from NBC-TV Morning News (June 14, 2004; TRT = 16 sec; ~62 MB in "*.avi" format).

If your browser opens a pop-up window, asking "What application do you wish to associate with this file type?," chose the default app or explicitly enter your Windows Media or RealOne Player as the application to associate with this file. It should remember this default for the future and then download the file to the Browser's Download Manager; after that's done (the time it takes depends on your modem or LAN-connection speed), it should automatically begin play-back of the color video clip with music (of course, audio playback is essential with stereo optional).

We have yet to solve the problem of how to "stream" these videos by applying the "mms" Streaming Protocol on our server, e.g.,

"[A HREF="mms://streaming.xx:80/yy.wmv"] [span Class="Download"] zz [/span][/A]",

but this is on our "to-do" list, and you needn't be bothered with these technicalities until we figure it out ourselves. For example, one problem is that if the play-window resolution is too great, the down-load streaming speed could lag behind the real-time playback speed, and then the value of streaming -- with its advantage of immediate playback -- would be obviated by continuous hiccups (interruptions in playback and/or sound clicks) during the viewing experience. Obviously, the 16-sec avi file above was compressed (using a digital-video codec from Pinnacle Studio-9 that takes 8 mm-analog video in from a standard camcorder) at too high a resolution on this particular continuum. The 3-minute video clip from ABC-TV was compressed by others into only 11 MB and was perfectly viewable, while the video clip from NBC-TV, which took one-twelveth the time, consumed more than five times as much bandwidth. Since no one will want to tradeoff continuous hesitations during viewing for mildly- annoying "pixilation" or aliasing artifacts when expanding the player to a full screen in freeze- frame mode (there is an entire technical vocabulary associated with frame-to-frame blur artifacts that the human eye can detect under some circumstances, such as when looking at a stationary audience in the stands while tracking a football in the air during a fast camera pan or watching the scenery go by while the camera is attached to a sports car at-wheel-level traveling at high speed down a winding mountain road, which even the producers of a $100 million Hollywood movie must content with), we need to examine the quality-of-compression choices empirically in Studio-9 until we discover an acceptable tradeoff that everyone can live with.

Marathon Mice at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA

Marathon Mouse at the Salk Institute.
A genetically engineered mouse runs a treadmill at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego.

August 24, 2004; Click on the photo of the mouse for more details.


1. On-Line Journal, Public Library of Science: Biology (August 24, 2004).
2. "Building a Better, Faster Mouse," The New York Times, p. A13 (August 24, 2004).
3. CNN (August 23, 2004).
4. Kristen Philipkoski, "Scientists Breed a Tougher Mouse," Wired News (August 23, 2004).

Elephant, Orangutan, and the Common House Cat to be Added to the List of Animals to Have Their DNA Sequenced

African Savannah Elephant.

August 4, 2004; Click on the African Savannah Elephant for more details.


Susan Milius, "Worm to Elephant: New Genome Targets," Science News, Vol. 166, No. 7, p. 109 (August 14, 2004).

Francis Harry Crick [1916 - 2004]

Dr. Francis Crick.

July 28, 2004; Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Francis Crick died today at age 88 of colon cancer at his home in San Diego, California. Click on his photo for more details.


1. Rosie Mestel, "Renowned DNA Scientist Saw Life as It Is," The Los Angeles Times, p. A1, 26 (July 30, 2004).
2. "Died: Francis Crick, 88, who with James Watson in 1953 first described the 'double-helix' structure of DNA, Wednesday, in San Diego, of cancer." The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (July 30, 2004).
3. "Revealer of DNA's Structure Dies," CNN (July 29, 2004).
4. Editorial, "His Mind Was Full of Life," The Los Angeles Times, p. B14 (August 5, 2004).
5. "Scholar Incarnate," Science, Vol. 305, p. 775 (August 6, 2004).
6. Leslie E. Orgel, "Retrospective: Molecular Biology: Francis Crick [1916 - 2004]," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5687, p. 1118 (August 20, 2004).
7. Charles Choi, "In Memoriam: Francis Crick, 1916-2004," Scientific American, Vol. 291, No. 4, p. 41 (October 2004).
8. Josie Glausiusz, "Tributes," Discover Magazine, Vol. 25, No. 10, p. 15 (October 2004).
9. "DNA Diviner Francis Crick Died at 88," Popular Science, Vol. 266, No. 1, p. 49 (January 2005).
"After Mendel, Crick was the Patron Saint of genetics, having uncovered the structure of DNA with James Watson in 1953."
10. Welcome Library Profile of Francis Crick, "After the Double Helix," Science, Vol. 307, No. 5713, p. 1177 (February 25, 2005).

Ronald Reagan, Jr. Addresses Democratic Convention on Stem Cells

Mr. Ronald Reagan, Jr..

July 27, 2004; Click on his photo for more details, including the full text of his speech and the subsequent remarks by Sen. John Kerry in his Acceptance Speech on Thursday night.


1. Wil S. Hylton, "Nancy's Stand: For Decades, Nancy Reagan Cloaked Her Iron Will with Adoring Gazes toward Her Husband. Now, as Alzheimer's Ravages Her Beloved Ronnie, She Wages a Single-Minded Battle to Throw Open the Doors of Stem-Cell Research," AARP Magazine, pp. 66-70 (September/October 2003).
2. "Crowd Pleaser...", The Los Angeles Times, p. A1 (July 28, 2004).
3. "Ron Reagan pressed for stem-cell research, saying potential benefits outweigh the 'theology of the few'," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (July 28, 2004).
4. Thomas H. Maugh, II, "Stem-Cell Research Takes Center Stage," The Los Angeles Times, p. A14 (July 27, 2004).
5. Four Letters to the Editor, "Dispute on Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. B19 (July 31, 2004).
6. "Campaigns: Family Commitment," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5683, p. 473 (July 23, 2004).
Ron Reagan, Jr. recently said in Los Angeles, "The conservative right-wing ideologs view this research simplistically as 'baby killing'. But we're not talking about fingers and toes here... a [pre-implantation blastocyst] is a mass of a couple hundred undifferentiated cells."
7. Constance Holden, "Stem Cell Research: Advocates Keep Pot Boiling As Bush Plans New Centers," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5683, p. 461 (July 23, 2004).
Earlier in July Prof. Irving Weissman, M.D. of Stanford University, testifying before of the Senate Committee Chaired by Sam Brownback ( R - KS) said "Whoever among you acts to ban this research [therapeutic cloning, as well as reproductive cloning] must also take responsibility for the lives it could save."
8. Lead Editorial, "Bush's Obstructionism," The Los Angeles Times, p. B10 (August 9, 2004).
9. David Malakoff, David Grimm, and Constance Holden, "Election 2004: The Calculus of Making Stem Cells a Campaign Issue," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5685, p. 760 (August 6, 2004).
10. Randy Kennedy, "First Lady Defends Limits on Stem-Cell Research," The New York Times, pp. A1, 17 (August 10, 2004).
11. Antonio Regalado and Bob Davis, "Kerry Treads Cloning Tightrope: Support for Stem-Cell Research Isn't a Sure Bet with Voters," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 4 (August 10, 2004).
12. Peter Wallsten and James Rainey, "Stem-Cell Research Gains Political Life," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 18 (August 10, 2004).
13. AP, "U.K. Grants First Cloning License," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, D3 (August 12, 2004).
14. "Britain: License Granted to Clone Embryos for Stem Cells," The Los Angeles Times, p. A1 (August 12, 2004).
15. "Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Backs Initiative on Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. B3 (August 12, 2004).
16. Michael Waldholz and Antonio Regalado, "Science Test: Biggest Struggles in Stem-Cell Fight May Be in the Lab: In Quest for a Diabetes Cure, Dr. Melton Tries to Make Insulin-Producing Tissue," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 6 (August 12, 2004).
17. George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D., "Perspective: Missed Opportunities in Embryonic Stem-Cell Research," The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 351, No. 7, pp. 627-8 (August 12, 2004).
18. Three Letters, "First Lady Draws Fire Over Stem-Cell Remarks," The Los Angeles Times, p. B18 (August 14, 2004).
19. Michael Kinsley, "False Hopes Beat No Hope: First Lady Laura Bush Weighs in on Federal Funding for Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. M5 (August 15, 2004).
"As Laura Bush put it, George Bush 'is the only president to ever authorize Federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research." She noted that 'few people know this.' Few people may have known it, but many might have guessed. It is true indeed that Bush's predecessors from George Washington to Bill Clinton, failed to fund embryonic stem-cell research. Even Abraham Lincoln. Not a penny for stem-cell research from any of them. However, historians believe that this might have been because an understanding of the implications of stem-cells didn't exist yet. But that's just a guess... As Laura did *not* note, [and conspicuous by it's omission], President Bush is the only president to ever authorize Federal rules that oppose stem-cell research."
[ Editor's Note: Is this an election campaign attempting to take (undeserved) credit for anything good, while deflecting blame for anything bad?]
20. Sam Harris, "Holy Terror: Religion Isn't the Solution - It's the Problem," The Los Angeles Times, pp. M1, 6 (August 15, 2004).
21. "France: Pope [John Paul, II] Struggles through Mass at Lourdes Shrine," The Los Angeles Times, p. A8 (August 16, 2004).
300,000 pilgrims in sizzling heat heard the Pope speak out against materialism, secularism, abortion, cloning, and euthanasia: "Do everything in your power to ensure that life, each and every life, will be respected from conception to its natural end." [italics added.]
22. Jeanne Kohl-Wells, State Senator from Seattle, WA, "Stem-Cell Debate," USA Today, p. 14A (August 19, 2004).
23. Ramesh Ponnuru, "His Stem-Cell Moderation Hurts Bush," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 20, 2004).
24. Eric Cohen, "Medical Ethics: Sen. Kerry's Stem-Cell Fairy Tales," The Los Angeles Times, p. M3 (August 22, 2004).
25. Michael Hiltzik, "Benefits of Stem-Cell Bond Issue in Question," The Los Angeles Times, pp. C1,2 (August 23, 2004).
26. Charles Krauthammer," Why Lines Must Be Drawn: Stem Cells Present a Complex Moral Issue. Shame on the Democrats for Polarizing It," Time Magazine, Vol. 164, No 8, p. 78 (August 23, 2004).
27. Gina Kolata, "Promise, in Search of Results: Stem-Cell Science Gets Limelight: Now It Needs a Cure," The New York Times, pp. D1,6 (August 24, 2004).
28. "Stem-Cell Debate: Public Still Undecided; Opinion Could Sway," Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 28, No. 5, pp. 6-7 (September/October 2004).
29. Matthew C. Nisbet, "Trends: Public Opinion About Stem-Cell Research and Human Cloning," Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1, pp. 131-54 (2004).
30. Gretchen Vogel, "German Panel [National Ethics Council] Reportedly Supports Cloning Research," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5687, p. 1091 (August 20, 2004).
31. Constance Holden, "U.K. Gives Cloning OK," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5687, p. 1102 (August 20, 2004).
32. Alan Zarembo, "DNA May Soon Be in Play: Gene Therapy Helps Build Muscle and Offers Hope in Treating Disease. The Dangers Are Real, As Is the Temptation for Athletes Seeking an Edge," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1,29 (August 27, 2004).
33. Robert Beckel, "Election Could Turn on Stem-Cell Issue, The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 27, 2004).
34. Antonio Regalado for Sharon Begley [on vacation], "Science Journal: Buzz about Stem Cells Spurs Desperately Ill to Seek Help Overseas," The Wall Street Journal, p. B1 (August 27, 2004).
"More than 400 patients, including a dozen Americans with spinal cord injuries, have paid $20,000 to a doctor at Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing for a fetal neural stem-cell procedure."
35. Lawrence M. Hinman, "Rover Is Not Replaceable Forget Cloning," The Los Angeles Times, p. B21 (August 28, 2004).
36. Letter to the Editor by Dr. Abby Lippman of Montreal, CANADA, "Cloning Embryos: Promise in Search of Results," The New York Times, p. D4 (August 31, 2004).
37. "Sam Brownback, Senator," The New York Times, p. P12 (August 31, 2004).
38. Bob Davis and Antonio Regalado, "Political Science: How Stem Cells Became Hurdle for GOP Campaign: Issue Crosses Over Party Lines, Aided by Conservatives; Bush's Position Unchanged, Visit from a Diabetic, Age 4," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 6 (August 31, 2004).
39. Megan Garvey, "California Elections: Stem-Cell Initiative Attracts Backers: Almost $11 Million Has Been Raised by Proponents of Proposition 71; Foes Collect Only $75,000, " The Los Angeles Times, p B1,5 (August 31, 2004).
40. Editorial, "The Republican Convention: Schwarzenegger's Close-Up," The Los Angeles Times, p. B10 (September 1, 2004).
41. "First: There's No 'Ban' on Stem-Cell Research," USA Today, p. 4A (September 1, 2004).
42. Gretchen Vogel, "Stem-Cell Politics: California Debates Whether to Become Stem-Cell Heavyweight," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5690, pp.1544-5 (September 10, 2004).
43. "Stem Cells in Hair Could Lead to Skin Treatments," The Los Angeles Times, p. A11 (September 4, 2004).
44. Reuters, "Pancreatic Cell Transplant Helps Diabetics," The Los Angeles Times, p. F2 (September 13, 2004).
45. CNN, "Science and Space: US Candidates Split Over Scientific Issues: U.S> President George W. Bush Defended Restrictions on Stem-Cell Research ... while Democratic Challenger John Kerry Opposed His Positions and Accused Bush of Placing Ideology before Science," [The Candidates Reply to Questions Posed by the Editors of the Journal Nature ](September 16, 2004).
46. Antonio Regalado, "California Ballot on Stem-Cell Issue Ignites Ad Blitz," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1, B6 (September 17, 2004).
Mr. Wayne Johnson, campaign consultant for "Doctors, Patients, and Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility," an opposition group to Proposition 71, has raised $150,000 from the Roman Catholic Church and conservative businessman Howard Ahmanson, Jr.
47. John M. Broder and Andrew Pollack, "Californians to Vote on Stem Cell Research Funds" The New York Times (September 20, 2004).
48. Gretchen Vogel, "Stem-Cell Claims Face Legal Hurdles," Science, Vol. 305, No. 5692, p. 1887 (September 24, 2004).
49. Kenneth Chang, "Science: Scientists Begin a Campaign to Oppose President's Policies," The New York Times, p. A19 (September 28, 2004).
"Scientists and Engineers for Change" Contact: Joy Howell at 202-828-7838
50. Jeanne Cummings, "New Voices Join Political Fray on Way, Stem Cells, Gay Unions," The Wall Street Journal, p. B3 (September 29, 2004).
51. AP, "'Dolly' Scientist Seeking to Clone Human Embryos," The Wall Street Journal, (September 29, 2004).
52. The Associated Press, "The Vatican Makes its First Speech at the U.N.: Secretary Condemns Cloning..." (September 29, 2004).
United Nations; New York, NY; The Vatican, in its first speech ever to the U.N. General Assembly, called Wednesday for a total ban on human cloning .... Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary of the Holy See's Relations with States said that he supports the advances of medical science through the use of Adult Stem Cells. The General Assembly is to resume its debate on human cloning in the coming weeks.
53. Maggie Farley, "U.S. Campaigns for Treaty to Ban Use of Embryonic Stem Cells: Bush Administration's Proposal Would Prohibit Human [Reproductive] and Therapeutic Cloning for Medical Research. World Body is Divided on the Issue [Being Sponsored by Costa Rica]," The Los Angeles Times, p. A3 (October 23, 2004).
"The U.N.'s dispute over the cloning mirrors the debates in the Presidential Campaign and in California about the morality of embryonic stem-cell research." Not mentioned in this article, unfortunately, is mention of a competing treaty co-sponsored by South Korea and Belgium that says essentially the opposite. And what will happen if both measures win or lose? Will the United Nations therefore do nothing?
[ GRG Editorial: Curiously, Ambassador Roberto Tovar, Costa Rica's delegate to the U.N., has a title of "Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship." He said that "cloning reduces the human being to a mere object of industrial production and manipulation." He warned that "women could be exploited as egg-making 'factories' and that the international community must not allow human embryos to be destroyed for scientific experiments." What would you expect from someone who has "Minister of Worship" built into their job title? What bothers me more, however, is how the White House hypocritically conceals its self-interest in the General-Assembly vote to be held next week by asking Costa Rica to serve as its "stalking horse," while the US stays comfortably in the background." How cynical is that? Why isn't the US itself the principal sponsor of this Treaty Convention to Ban All Forms of Cloning? Do we wish to foster the delusion that there is a ground-swell of support from the grass roots throughout the world by having a stalking-horse on an issue of such deep and profound concern only to Christian fundamentalists, who can't even get a consensus in US Senate within their own country? Is this a tactical "end run"? And since the treaty would not be legally binding on any particular UN member-country, would we try to ratify it in our own Senate to make it enforceable? Then they would have to deal with our ("turn coat") Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the majority of Californians who are driving home Prop. 71 into law, wouldn't they? But this Administration is a master at using indirectness to accomplish its agenda. Consider, for example, the charade of the "public" meeting at the White House East Room carefully orchestrated a few years ago to perpetrate the illusion that there was a ground-swell of American support for banning what they, for the first-time-in-history, called "research cloning" (in place of the standard term "therapeutic cloning"). Think that, if you have control of the playing field, you can define your terms and use them as though they were not newly-minted or coined by you for your own nefarious purposes. Use them as though "Of course, everyone has regularly been using these terms this way, and I'm innocently picking up on what everyone else says simply to make my point." (When asked why the President systematically says nucuular (sic) instead of nuclear weapons, White House staffers defend the President by saying that his pronunciation is a "regionalism." Lots of people say it that way where he comes from, even well-known Democrats and former presidents. Yea, sure. President Carter said it that way, but he was wrong too.] There's no one in the room to raise his or her hand instantly and say, "I object!" "Please use standard (scientific) terminology when addressing this issue." Obviously, all the persons in the audience were pre-screened (probably for hours in advance) to ensure that they were supporters of the proposition about to be broadcast, so that they could applaud as a group "on silent cue." This furthers the lie for any naive person watching the unfolding of this staged event on public TV that this is an otherwise neutral and objective audience who merely happens to like what it's hearing as it applauds, and it's only me the outside viewer who's "screwed up," if he or she happens to disagree. Such is consistent with the proven model that almost all wealthy people use to accomplish their secret objectives (of getting richer by means which if illuminated by suddenly turning on the kitchen light would cause the insects to scatter or the profits to evaporate), i.e., to employ intermediaries (hired-guns, such as lawyers) to publicize and advocate a palatably- disguised version of their agenda while remaining in the (shadowy) background (Why do you have such big eyes, Grandma? All the better to see you with, my dear.) so that their adversaries would never be able to name them by name and go head-to-head in a public debate observed by a neutral audience, since that is a forum in which they might actually lose. (As a case in point, look at three-for-three loses by Bush to Kerry in their own debates) Obviously, poor people outnumber rich people by a considerable margin (using one-man/one-vote democracy), so how could rich people legislate tax policies in their self interest at every one else's expense, if they don't have powerful advocates surreptitiously doing their bidding. By the way, will those advocates accept political campaign contributions to get themselves reelected? So what if the money is used to fabricate smear ads on TV that repeat a lie so often that the lie appears to have been true (shades of 1984), especially for a statement that is likely to be false but very hard for the other side to refute without a long, expensive, time-consuming "process of discovery"?]
54. Lawrence Lessig, "Our Kids Are in Big Trouble," Wired Magazine, Vol. 12, No. 10, p. 130 (October 2004).
"... And we have suffocated stem-cell research through absurdly restrictive policies, giving the sanctimonious ground upon which to rally, while guaranteeing that kids with curable diseases will suffer unnecessary deaths. In each case we have burdened children - that one group that can't complain - so as to supposedly benefit those of us who do."

Canine Genome Completed at Eli Broad Institute

Boxer, Tasha.

July 14, 2004; Click on the photo for more details.

Prof. Irving Weissman, M.D., Testifies in Congress

Prof. Irving Weissman, M.D.

Click on the photo for a transcript details.

Oldest Californian Passes Away: Elma Grace Corning [1892 - 2004]

Mrs. Elma Corning, 111 Mrs. Elma Corning, 112th Birthday

July 12, 2004; Please click on her photos or on the References below for more pictures.

Click for a brief video clip of Mrs. Corning, age 111, and her Son, Russell, age 78 (April 7, 2003; TRT = 37 sec.; ~10 MB in "*.avi" format).

Sunday; September 26, 2004; Memorial Service at Shatto Chapel; First Congregational Church of Los Angeles.

Program for Memorial Service Mr. Russell Corning and Wife, Mardell


1. Myrna Oliver, "Elma Corning, 112; Was the Oldest Californian, Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (July 7, 2004).
2. Jason Felch, "Elma Corning Was 112, and That Was Old News to Her," Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 19 (July 17, 2004).
3. Jennifer Swanson, "Corning Was the Oldest Resident in California," The Oskaloosa Herald of Oskaloosa, Iowa (August 23, 2004).
4. Jennifer Swanson, "Corning Still Inspires Others," The Oskaloosa Herald of Oskaloosa, Iowa (August 23, 2004).
This article mentions our website for those wanting more information about Supercentenarians.
5. Acknowlegements: Members of the Department of Pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who were involved in some aspect of Mrs. Corning's autopsy are as follows:
Drs. Michael C. Fishbein, M.D., Chief-of-Service, Harry V. Vinters, M.D., Makary, Chute, Glasgow, and Jeffrey Truell, M.D., Attending Resident Pathologist.

Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan [1889 - 2004]

Sra. Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan

May 18, 2004; Click on her photo for more details.


1. Myrna Oliver, "Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan, 114; Oldest Person in the World," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (May 31, 2004).
2. AP, "World's Oldest Person Dies at 114," CNN (May 31, 2004).

Chimp vs. Human Chromosomes Analyzed

Two Chimps

May 27, 2004; Click on the photo for more details.

All Dog Breeds Share Gene Pool of the Wolf

May 21, 2004; All dogs share 99 percent of their genes in common. Four breed categories have now been identified: Ancient [immediately derived from the Asian Gray Wolf] (Siberian husky, Alaskan malamute, Sharpei, Akita, Afghan hound, and Saluki), Hunting (Bloodhounds and Golden retrievers), Herder (Collies and Belgian sheepdogs), and Guard Dogs (Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Boxers, Rottweilers, and German shepherds) --- the latter three largely as a result of breeding programs created only in the last few hundred years. 414 dogs from 85 different breeds were used in establishing these categories [6]. A complete sequence for the Poodle has already been published by Craig Venter (See our News Item for September 25, 2003). The complete sequence for Tasha, a female Boxer, is expected to be published by Lindblad-Toh and others in the Public Project in the next few weeks [5].


1. AP, "Dogs, Wolves Share Gene Pool: Studies Find an Ancient Breed Split, Evolving into Three Types with a Few Very Distinct Differences," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (May 18, 2004).
2. Elizabeth Weise, "Study: Asian Dog Breeds Are Spitz & Image of Wolf," USA Today (May 21, 2004).
3. Humorous Editorial, "Come. Sit. Stay. Read," The Los Angeles Times, p. M4 (May 30, 2004).
4. John Travis, "Breeds Apart: Purebred Dogs Defined by DNA Differences," Science News, Vol. 165, No. 21 (May 22, 2004).
5. Elizabeth Pennisi, "Genome Resources to Boost Canines' Role in Gene Hunts," Science, Vol. 304, No. 5674, pp. 1093-5 (May 21, 2004).
6. Heidi G. Parker, Lisa V. Kim, Nathan B. Sutter, Scott Carlson, Travis D. Lorentzen, Tiffany B. Malek, Gary S. Johnson, Hawkins B. DeFrance, Elaine A. Ostrander, and Lenoid Kruglyak, "Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog," Science, Vol. 304, No. 5674, pp. 1160-4 (May 21, 2004).

Britain Opens Stem-Cell Bank

May 30, 2004; Potters Bar, UK Britain opened the world's first national stem-cell bank, hoping to establish a lead in this promising but controversial area of medical research.


1. AP, "Britain Opens Stem-Cell Bank," The Los Angeles Times, p. D5 (May 20, 2004).
2. "Britain Opened the World's First Stem-Cell Bank, Breaking New Ground in One of the Most Promising But Contentious Areas of Medical Research," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (May 20, 2004).
3. AP; London, "U.K. Team Asks to Clone Embryos," Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, D1, 3 (June 17, 2004).
[Newcastle University has asked the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority for a license to create embryos from which stem cells would be harvested for medical research.]

Charlotte Benkner [1889 - 2004]

Mrs. Charlotte Benkner

May 18, 2004; Click on her photo for more details.


"Charlotte Benkner, 114; 2nd-Oldest Person in World Lived 'Steadily'," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (May 18, 2004).

Nancy Reagan Publicly Endorses Stem-Cell Research

Michael J. Fox & Nancy Reagan

May 8, 2004; Beverly Hills, CA; At a star-studded fund-raising gala sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and without mentioning either President Bush or the antithetical White-House stem-cell-funding position by name, Mrs. Nancy Reagan publicly described her own position regarding Federal funding for stem-cell research as "... we have lost so much time already, and I just really can't bear to lose any more." Three dozen Republicans, including some prominent anti-abortion conservatives added their names to a recent letter from more than 200 House members urging President Bush to relax his restrictions on Federal support for this form of research.


1. Editorial, "Republicans for Stem-Cell Research," The New York Times, p. A26 (May 11, 2004).
2. The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (May 10, 2004).
3. AP, "Nancy Reagan Endorses Human Embryo Research," CNN (May 9, 2004).
4. The Los Angeles Times (May 9, 2004). 5. Editorial, Journal of Longevity, Vol. 10, No. 6, p. 1 (2004).
Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world." The Stem Cell Initiative my just be an example of that phenomenon. Dr. Hans Keirstead at the Reeve Research Center at UC Irvine said, "Regenerative medicine or ESC research must be allowed to move forward and flourish right here in the US. Misunderstandings about ESC research need to be translated into compassion for all those who are suffering right now."

Professor Roy Lee Walford, M.D. [1924 - 2004]

Prof. Walford and Mouse

April 27, 2004 Dr. Roy Walford, physician, immunologist, pioneer in techniques of Calorie Restriction for lifespan extension, and Professor Emeritus of the Pathology Department at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, died today at the UCLA-Santa Monica Hospital secondary to complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease --- a rare muscle-wasting condition with no well-established modifiable risk factors. Dr. Walford was two months short of his 80th birthday. Present were Dr. Walford's daughter Lisa and his son Peter, as well as friends of the family. Dr. Jonathan Braun, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of UCLA plans to raise funds for a Endowed Chair at UCLA in Dr. Walford's honor. Funeral arrangements have hot been announced, but cremation is planned for the body, with scattering of ashes at sea.

-- Steven B. Harris, M.D., longtime collaborator at UCLA

There is too little time to write sufficient praise for a man who laid his own life and health on the line to advance scientific understanding. It is fitting that his most recent and last publication is on the hypothesis of the cause of his own death [1]. For myself, as a firm believer in the importance of advancing scientific knowledge more than in my own self-preservation, and to that end, in the use of myself as an experimental subject (having done so in many experiments over many years), I can only hope to make it another 40 years in order to both have a rich life and to outlive my chronological peers, as Roy outlived many of his.

-- Peter Estep, Ph.D.


1. Lassinger, B.K., Kwak, C., Walford, R. L., and Jankovic J., "Atypical Parkinsonism and Motor Neuron Syndrome in a Biosphere-2 Participant: A Possible Complication of Chronic Hypoxia and Carbon Monoxide Toxicity?" Movement Disorders, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 465-9 (April 2004).
2. Thomas H. Maugh, II, "Roy Walford, 79; Eccentric UCLA Scientist Touted Food Restriction," The Los Angeles Times, p. B18 (May 1, 2004).
3. Anahad O'Connor, "Roy Walford, 79; Linked Diet to Longevity," I> The New York Times, p. C15 (May 4, 2004).
4. Lisa Walford, "Public Statement to the Life-Extension Community about the Decision to Have Her Father Cremated" (May 5, 2004).


Click on his picture above for more details at his personal website and to honor his memory by "signing in."

In addition, we urge you to consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Prof. Roy L. Walford Endowed Lectureship at the UCLA School of Medicine. Contributions in your name to the UCLA Foundation for this purpose should be designated as going to Fund #812140 and mailed to
Mr. Alan Han,
UCLA Office of Medical Sciences Development
10945 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 3132
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1784
Voice: 310-825-1546
FAX: 310-206-3942
Please click for more details.

First Successful Mammalian Parthenogenesis Demonstrated for Mice in Japan

April 21, 2004; Tokyo; JAPAN.(JCNN) -- The Biotechnology Research Advancement Institution (BRAIN) announced that it has developed the world's first female parthenogenetic mouse in collaboration with the Tokyo University of Agriculture. Grown-up normally, the mouse has begun bearing healthy baby mice. This success may contribute to the development of a new system for livestock breeding, based on just one genetically superior female. Parthenogenesis is a form of reproduction in which an unfertilized egg is stimulated to develop into a clonally-equivalent adult female. This form of reproduction occasionally occurs in Nature only in insects and a few other types of arthropods, but can be carried out experimentally in frogs, which have really big eggs. (Parthenogenesis in frogs was first accomplished at Oxford University in England in the 1950s.) Paternal chromosomes are typically needed for normal development by allowing specialized gene expression during embryogenesis. This requirement may be Nature's way of avoiding spontaneous embryogenesis in ovulating females (immaculate conception). But this checkpoint was short-circuited by the Japanese team when they employed mutant DNA, altered to give it a masculine genetic activity pattern. These paternal-effect genes are not yet known in humans.


"Birth of Parthenogenetic Mice that can Develop to Adulthood," Nature, Vol. 428, pp. 860-4 (April 22, 2004).
1 Department of BioScience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8502, JAPAN
2 Department of Applied Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8502, JAPAN
3 Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution (BRAIN), Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001, JAPAN
4 MacroGen Inc, Chongno-Ku, Seoul 110-061, SOUTH KOREA
5 Department of Biochemistry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Chongno-Ku, Seoul 110-799, SOUTH KOREA

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to T.K.:


Only mammals have relinquished parthenogenesis, a means of producing descendants solely from maternal germ cells. Mouse parthenogenetic embryos die by day ten of gestation. Bi-parental reproduction is necessary because of parent-specific epigenetic modification of the genome during gametogenesis. This leads to unequal expression of imprinted genes from the maternal and paternal alleles. However, there is no direct evidence that genomic imprinting is the only barrier to parthenogenetic development. Here we show the development of a viable parthenogenetic mouse individual from a reconstructed oocyte containing two haploid sets of maternal genome, derived from non-growing and fully grown oocytes. This development was made possible by the appropriate expression of the Igf2 and H19 genes with other imprinted genes, using mutant mice with a 13-kilobase deletion in the H19 gene as non-growing oocytes donors. This full-term development is associated with a marked reduction in aberrantly-expressed genes. The parthenote developed to adulthood with the ability to reproduce offspring. These results suggest that paternal imprinting prevents parthenogenesis, ensuring that the paternal contribution is obligatory for the descendant.

2. "Japanese scientists devised a way to create a mouse with DNA from two females, but insist they'll never try it with humans..." The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (April 22, 2004).
[There are ethical as well as technical reasons for never trying this technique in humans.]
3. AP, "Minnies Didn't Need Mickey to Be Moms," The Los Angeles Times, p. A11 (April 22, 2004).
[ Editorial Remark: This headline demonstrates that there is an LA Times headline staff-writer who has "way too much time on his hands." This headline writer clearly aspires to show off how clever he is for having composed an alliteration subsumed within a metaphor of Disney Land. The AP didn't write this headline, did it? Neither did the Japanese create it. So who wants to show off at the scientists' expense by trivializing the difficult work involved for the sake of a cheap shot, and subsequently making it hard for future funding agencies to take the work seriously? We have no idea, except for the obvious presence of a self-indulgent ego.]

University of Michigan Mouse Has Fourth Birthday

Yoda and Princess Leia

Addendum: April 24, 2004; Ann Arbor, MI ( AP) - - Yoda, a genetically modified dwarf mouse who lived to be the oldest of his kind, died in his cage at the University of Michigan. The mouse was an integral part of ongoing lifespan research at the university's medical school, and "lived to be 4 years and 12 days, the equivalent of more than 136 in human years," the school said. " Yoda had not appeared to be sick, and the exact cause of death is unknown," spokeswoman Sally Pobojewski said. "I mean, he was old. That was the bottom line," Pobojewski said. "He was really, really old." Most lab mice of his strain grow to about [30 - 35] grams and live to [2 - 2.5] years. Yoda weighed between [10 - 15] grams during his adult life and exploited Princess Leia, his constant companion, for warmth. She had normal a normal set of hormones for temperature control and appeared to have plenty of body heat for both of them. [7]

Yoda, who received the name after researchers agreed he looked like the sage of the Star Wars movies, had genetic mutations that affected his pituitary and thyroid glands and reduced his production of insulin.

Ref.: AP, "Mouse Dies after 100 Years" (April 24, 2004).

April 13, 2004; Ann Arbor, MI ( AP) "A dwarf mouse named Yoda has celebrated his fourth birthday, making him the oldest of his kind," the University of Michigan Medical School says. Yoda owes his longevity to genetic modifications that affected his Pituitary and Thyroid Glands and reduced insulin production -- and which left him one-third smaller than an average mouse and especially sensitive to cold.

On the other hand, by one calculation, at the human equivalent of about 136 years. Yoda is still mobile, sexually active, and "looking good," said Prof. Richard A. Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Director of Research at the University of Michigan's Geriatrics Center. Yoda lives in a carefully maintained lab with roughly 100 other male geriatric mice being used for a lifespan study. An average lab mouse lives slightly more than two years. Yoda's cage mate, Princess Leia, is a much larger female who uses her body warmth to keep the dwarf mouse from freezing.

Researchers are studying the genetic mutants to determine how altered hormone levels can slow down the aging process, with the hope of figuring out which methods, if any, eventually could be applied to human beings.

In a private E-mail, Dr. Miller has suggested to us that the statistic of "mean lifespan" or "average life expectancy" is superior to "maximum lifespan" in comparing equivalent human years in different species. And this is how he calculated the 136 year estimate for Yoda's human equivalent age. We will have further discussions on this topic after everyone has had a chance to weigh in on this topic.


1. University of Michigan Press Release.
2. AP, "Altered Mouse Turns 136 in Human Years," The Los Angeles Times, p. A18 (April 13, 2004).
3. AP, "Oldest Dwarf Mouse Still Has Health --- and Mojo," The Los Angeles Times, p. A23 (April 17, 2004).
4. Anahad O'Connor, "In Michigan, A Milestone for a Mouse Methuselah," The New York Times, p. D2 (April 13, 2004).
5. CNN (April 12, 2004).
6. Editorial, "A Mouse for the Ages," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (April 22, 2004).
A humorous commentary on the proposition that Yoda's enhancements may be too late for Ponce de Leon or Joan Rivers, but maybe not for the researchers who are doing the work. ;-)
7. Benjamin Harder, "Mouse Mourned: Yoda Dies at Age Four," Science News, Vol. 165, No. 18, p. 277 (May 1, 2004).
The genetic mutation that failed to maintain normal body temperature was called, Pit-1 .

Sequences Completed for Human Chromosomes 13 and 19

April 3, 2004; In the current issue of Nature, complete sequences for Chromosome 19 containing nearly 1,500 genes and Chromosome 13 containing only 633 genes have now been completed.

Rat Genome Sequenced by Baylor University

March 31, 2004; Houston, TX ( Reuters) ---

Rat Genome Helps Separate Mice from Men

Maggie Fox,
Health and Science Correspondent

The genetic code of the rat joined the growing list of creatures whose DNA has been mapped on Wednesday, and experts said "it will make the laboratory rat -- already beloved by scientists -- an even better tool for fighting human disease." The rat is only the third species to be sequenced to such a degree, after the completed human genome sequence in April 2003 and the draft mouse genome in December 2002. It confirms that the laboratory rat is in fact a good choice for medical research.

Almost all human genes associated with diseases have counterparts in the rat genome, the researchers write in this week's issue of the journal Nature. "This is an investment that is destined to yield major payoffs in the fight against human disease," Dr. Elias Zerhouni, Head of the National Institutes of Health that funded most of the research, said in a statement. "For nearly 200 years, the laboratory rat has played a valuable role in efforts to understand human biology and to develop new and better drugs," he added. "Now, armed with this sequencing data, a new generation of researchers will be able to greatly improve the utility of rat models and thereby improve human health."

The researchers, led by a team at Baylor College of Medicine's Genome Sequencing Center in Houston, Texas, chose the Brown Norway strain of laboratory rat, known scientifically as Rattus norvegicus. This species was best known in the past for infecting ships and is distinct from the smaller black rat, Rattus rattus, notorious for spreading plague. "As we build upon the foundation laid by the Human Genome Project, it's become clear that comparing the human genome with those of other organisms is the most powerful tool available to understand the complex genomic components involved in human health and disease," said Dr. Francis Collins, Head of the National Human Genome Research Institute. "Having the rat genome along side the mouse and the human genome allows scientists to triangulate, just as mariners triangulate to navigate using the stars and the sun," said Baylor's Richard Gibbs, who led the study.

That, in turn, "will help show what makes mice different from people, and rats from mice," the scientists told a news conference. "If we have two things we can't really tell how far apart we are. Now that we have a third species we can see whether the changes are rat changes, mouse changes or human changes," Gibbs said in an interview. The map has already shown an explosion of change in the rat's genetic makeup, Gibbs said -- helping separate the rat from other rodents and especially mice. Rats have significant differences from mice and from people notably in olfaction [smell-receptor genes] and immune-system genes. "But it is not so much new genes as extra copies of genes," Collins said. "It certainly doesn't seem that any new genes were invented along the way," Collins said. In other words, "what makes us different from rats or mice, or any mammal for that matter, is not some unique human gene, but rather how the DNA expresses those genes during embryogenesis."


1. Rat Genome Sequencing Project Consortium, "Genome Sequence of the Brown Norway Rat Yields Insights into Mammalian Evolution," Nature, Vol. 428, pp. 493 - 521 (April 1, 2004).


The laboratory rat ( Rattus norvegicus) is an indispensable tool in experimental medicine and drug development, having made inestimable contributions to human health. We report here the genome sequence of the Brown Norway (BN) rat strain. The sequence represents a high-quality 'draft' covering over 90 percent of the genome. The BN rat sequence is the third complete mammalian genome to be deciphered, and three-way comparisons with the human and mouse genomes resolve details of mammalian evolution.

This first comprehensive analysis includes genes and proteins and their relation to human disease, repeated sequences, comparative genome-wide studies of mammalian orthologous chromosomal regions and rearrangement breakpoints, reconstruction of ancestral karyotypes and the events leading to existing species, rates of variation, and lineage-specific and lineage- independent evolutionary events such as expansion of gene families, orthology relations, and protein evolution.

2. "Rat Genome Is Almost Completely Mapped," The Los Angeles Times, p. A14 (April 3, 2004).

New Regulations Proposed for IVF by the President's Bioethics Council

March 30, 2004; Washington, D.C. ---- The Congressional Proposals contained in a newly issued report Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies by the President's Bioethics Commission, Chaired by Dr. Leon Kass of the University of Chicago, are very complex and merit considerable further study before we can render an opinion. However, at first blush, the major recommendations appear to be quite reasonable:

(1) A complete ban on human DNA mixed into xenoeggs (gametes derived from a non- human species. This is not a gratuitous issue by the way, since we have it on good authority that this technique has already been attempted.);
(2) Prohibit conception of a human embryo by any means other than the union of an egg and a sperm (tantamount to a ban on reproductive cloning, without mentioning the politically-volatile word "cloning."); and
(3) Limit scientific investigation of human embryos to no more than [10 - 14] days (i.e., preimplantation);

while the unacceptable ideological language, referring to embryos as "nascent human life"and a proposal to track every embryo created in an IVF clinic in a Federal database, that were present in earlier drafts, appears to have been removed. (However, it will be critical for us to obtain a hardcopy version of this report, since the one available on their website above did not appear to be complete, omitting an important Appendix separately written by four members of the Council not including Dr. Kass, but not described as a "Minority Report," as was the case in the very first Report of the Council.)[ Note: This problem now appears to have been rectified, and the Appendix is now available on the website.]


1. Antonio Regalado, "Bush's Bioethics Council to Call for More Fertility-Clinic Scrutiny," The Walls Street Journal, pp. A1, B3 (March 30, 2004).
2. Stephen S. Hall, "U.S. Panel About to Weigh in on Rules for Assisted Fertility," The New York Times, pp. D1,4 (March 30, 2004).
3. Constance Holden, "Bioethics: White House Panel Issues Its Final Word on Reproductive Technology," Science, Vol. 304, No. 5668, p.188 (April 9, 2004).

CR in Old Mice Increases Life Expectation 40 Percent

March 26, 2004; A Study by Prof. Stephen R. Spindler of UC Riverside published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences[1] shows that it may never be too late to extend life by Caloric Restriction (CR). Many studies over the last twenty years have shown that starting young or new-born mice on CR helps them live for months longer than lab animals fed an ad lib diet. But now even 19-month-old mice (the human equivalent of 60 to 65 years) can have a longer life when placed on a CR diet -- with an immediate benefit in slowing the aging process. The older CR animals lived up to six months longer than litter-mates fed the standard diet.[2]

Study: Cutting Calories Extends Life

A study in mice suggests that a low-calorie diet could help extend life even if the dietary change doesn't start until old age -- Even older mice on restricted diets fare better in research.

March 23, 2004; Washington, D.C. ( AP) -- The study, appearing this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [1], showed that mice at the relatively advanced age of 19 months that were placed on a restricted calorie diet lived 42 percent longer than litter mates who continued to eat a standard diet. Other studies have shown that young mice put on a low-calorie diet live much longer than mice fed the standard fare. But the new research suggests that it is never too late to enjoy a life-extension benefit by reducing calories.

Prof. Stephen R. Spindler of the University of California, Riverside, leader of a team conducting the research, said there is little evidence yet that dietary restrictions will extend human life, but in mice, at least, sensible eating, even at older ages, clearly has a longevity benefit. He said a 19-month-old mouse is the age equivalent of 60 to 65 years in humans. Spindler said "old mice placed on a restricted calorie diet responded quickly with better health and that eventually the animals lived up to six months longer than litter mates fed the standard diet. If such findings translate to humans," he said, "this could mean a lot more years and a lot of good years. The mice on caloric restriction lived longer and they are healthier."

Early vs. Late Start

Spindler said that while older mice that go on a diet do live longer than those that don't, they still don't live as long as mice that have been on restricted diets for a lifetime. He said mice put on low-calorie diets just after birth have been known to live up to four years, almost twice as long as normal mice and months longer than the aged mice in the new study. The message, he said, is that sensible eating for a lifetime is best, but there are life span benefits even if the diet is not started until old age.

"This is a very important finding," said Dr. George S. Roth of the National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health. "The dogma has always been that the earlier in life you start a restricted diet, the better it works for extending life," said Roth, a researcher studying the aging process who was not involved in Spindler's research. "This finding suggests that you may get some of the same benefits starting late in life."

Cancer Connection

Spindler said the study also found that the restricted-calorie diets also slowed the development and advancement of cancer. Death from tumors is very common among aged mice, he said, but the researchers found that tumor growth either started later or was slowed among mice fed limited calories. The researchers also analyzed how the action of genes changed in mice placed on restricted calorie diets. Spindler said there were changes and that these might be biomarkers of how the restricted diet works to extend life.

"People have been searching for 30 years for biomarkers of the changes that take place during the aging process," said Spindler. He said the new study in mice suggests that by measuring the amount and type of proteins made by the genes scientists could pinpoint the biomarkers of aging. Once those are known, he said, it would be possible to find drugs that have the same effect on life extension as calorie-restricted diets.

Does this mean that eventually aging could be slowed by taking a pill? "I am confident that that day will come," said Spindler.


1. Joseph M. Dhahbi [*], Hyon-Jeen Kim , Patricia L. Mote , Robert J. Beaver , and Stephen R. Spindler, "Temporal Linkage between the Phenotypic and Genomic Responses to Caloric Restriction," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073 (March 25, 2004).
* BioMarker Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
900 East Hamilton Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008; and
Departments of Biochemistry and Statistics
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521
Edited by Cynthia J. Kenyon, University of California, San Francisco and
approved January 26, 2004 (received for review August 18, 2003)


Caloric restriction (CR), the consumption of fewer calories while avoiding malnutrition, decelerates the rate of aging and the development of age-related diseases. CR has been viewed as less effective in older animals and as acting incrementally to slow or prevent age-related changes in gene expression. Here we demonstrate that CR initiated in 19-month-old mice begins within two months to increase the mean time to death by 42% and increase mean and maximum lifespans by 4.7 (P = 0.000017) and 6.0 months (P = 0.000056), respectively. The rate of age-associated mortality was decreased 3.1-fold. Between the first and second breakpoints in the CR survival curve (between 21 and 31 months of age), tumors as a cause of death decreased from 80% to 67% (P = 0.012). Genome-wide microarray analysis of hepatic RNA from old control mice switched to CR for 2, 4, and 8 weeks showed a rapid and progressive shift toward the gene expression profile produced by long-term CR. This shift took place in the time frame required to induce the health and longevity effects of CR. Shifting from long-term CR to a control diet, which returns animals to the control rate of aging, reversed 90% of the gene expression effects of long-term CR within 8 weeks. These results suggest a cause-and-effect relationship between the rate of aging and the CR-associated gene expression biomarkers. Therefore, therapeutics mimicking the gene-expression biomarkers of CR may reproduce its physiological effects.

Present address:
Department of Medicine
University of California; Los Angeles, CA 90095.

To whom correspondence should be addressed: Prof. Stephen R. Spindler, E-mail:

2. "Better Diet Helps Even Late in Life, Study Shows," The Los Angeles Times, p. A12 (March 27, 2004).

Andrew Weil, M.D. To Be Keynote Speaker at Las Vegas Anti-Aging Conference

Dr. Andrew Weil
March 25, 2004; Dr. Andrew Weil will be the Keynote Speaker at the Integrative Medical Therapeutics for Anti-Aging Conference & Exposition at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel on Friday, October 29th. Click on the photo for more details.

Can the Ovarian Clock Be Turned Backward?

March 12, 2004;
Patricia B. Hoyer
Department of Physiology
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721; USA
URL: Document.
Key words: germ cells " oocyte " ovary " follicle " menopause " fertility


A basic tenet of reproductive biology is that female mammals are born with a fixed set of germ cells ( oocytes). A new study by Johnson, et al. challenges these beliefs by demonstrating that the post-natal mouse ovary contains actively dividing germ cells. These findings have implications for prolonging the reproductive lifespan of women.


1. Patricia B. Hoyer, "Can the Clock Be Turned Back on Ovarian Aging?" Science Aging Knowledge Environment, Vol. 2004, Issue 10, pp. pe11 (March 10, 2004) [DOI10.1126/sageke.2004.10.pe11]
2. Rosie Mestel, "Ova Discovery Is One for the Biology Texts: Mice Study Disproves Dogma That Females Are Born with a Finite Number of Eggs," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 13 (March 11, 2004).
3. Johnson, et al, Nature (March 11, 2004).
4. Denise Grady, "Thawed Ovary Tissue Yields Healthy Embryo," The New York Times (March 9, 2004).
5. "Women Might Be Able to Generate Eggs Well into Adulthood, Harvard Scientists Found, Possibly Opening New Avenues for Infertility Treatments, The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (March 9, 2004).
6. John Travis, "Scrambled Dogma: Stem Cells May Make New Eggs in Women," Science News, Vol. 165, No. 11, p. 163 (March 13, 2004).
7. Michael D. Lemonick, "Of Mice and Menopause: The Startling Discovery that Mammals May Constantly Make New Eggs Could Trigger a Biological Revolution," Time Magazine, p. 61 (March 22, 2004).

Mr. Joan Riudavets of Spain, World's Oldest Man, Dies at Age 114

Mr. Joan Riudavets
March 6, 2004; Madrid, SPAIN ( Reuters) - Click his photo for more details. His successor becomes Mr. Fred Hale, Sr., making the Woman's and the Man's World Record-Holders both Americans.


1. Myrna Oliver, "Joan Riudavets-Moll, 114; World's Oldest Man," The Los Angeles Times, p. B9 (March 8, 2004).
2. Reuters and CNN-Europe (March 6, 2004).

First Bird Genomic Sequence Completed

March 6, 2004; Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis have completed the assembly the genome of the Red Jungle Fowl ( Gallus gallus) native to Southeast Asia, and which belongs to the same species as the world's domesticated chicken flocks. Therefore, chickens now join the likes of humans, chimps, dogs, mice, puffer fish, sea squirts, honey bees, fruit flies, malaria-carrying mosquitos, nematodes, and assorted bacteria and viruses in getting their genomic sequence published on the Internet for all to inspect. The chicken genome should illuminate some interesting evolutionary issues regarding gender: for mammals, XX = female, while XY = male. However, for birds, WZ = female, while ZZ = male! Is it the presence of a W or the number of Z's that matters?

Also, chicken chromosomes show great size variation. For example, there are 30 micro- chromosomes, each less than 1/10th the size of the chicken's largest chromosome. Indeed, there are 39 chromosomes in all compared to our mere 24, yet they comprise only 1/3 of the total number of base pairs that we carry.

[ Editor's Remark: Obviously, God makes lots of seemingly random choices in configuring a new species! Has anyone ever tried deleting some of these micro-chromosomes and seeing if you still get a chicken? Or, if they're all essential, what about pasting some of them together and seeing if you still get a chicken?]


1. AP, "Scientists Map Genetic Code of the Chicken," The Los Angeles Times (March 6, 2004).
2. Susan Milius, "Jungle Genes: First Bird Genome Is Decoded," Science News, Vol. 165, No. 10, p. 148 (March 6, 2004).

HRT Estrogen-Only Trial Terminates Prematurely, Also

March 2, 2004; Click for details.


1. Rosie Mestel, "Citing a Risk of Strokes, U.S. Stops Estrogen Study Early," The Los Angeles Times, p. A10 (March 3, 2004).
2. Leila Abbound and Andrea Petersen, "Rethinking Hormone Therapy - Again," The Wall Street Journal, pp. D1,3 (March 3, 2004).
3. Tara Parker Pope, "Taking Estogen Fails to Protect Heart; Slight Risk of Stroke," The Wall Street Journal, pp. D1, 3 (March 3, 2004).
4. Rachel Zimmerman, "Colon Cancer Risk Found with HRT," The Wall Street Journal, pp. D1, 5 (March 4, 2004).

GRG Cracks Case of Mr. William Coates, Allegedly 114 Years Old, But Really 92

Family of William Coates

March 2, 2004; Click on the photo of his family for details.


1. AP, "Census Shows 'Oldest Man' Wasn't 114, but 92," The Los Angeles Times, p. A9 (March 3, 2004).
2. CNN, "Records Show Man Was Not U.S. Oldest" (March 2, 2004).
3. Paul Schwartzman, "Census Records Cast Doubt On Age of Prince George Man," The Washington Post, p. B1 (March 2, 2004).

Harvard Plans New $100 Million Stem-Cell Institute

February 29, 2004; Click for more details..


1. "Harvard Plans to Open Stem Cell Institute," The Los Angeles Times, p. A. 15 (March 1, 2004).
2. "Harvard Now Plans a Big Stem-Cell Research Push," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (March 1, 2004).
3. Justin Gillis and Rick Weiss, "NIH: Few Stem Cell Colonies Likely Available for Research," The Washington Post (March 3, 2004).
4. Chad A. Cowan, Ph.D., Irina Klimanskaya, Ph.D., Jill McMahon, M.S., Jocelyn Atienza, B.S., Jeannine Witmyer, Ph.D., Jacob P. Zucker, B.S., Shunping Wang, Ph.D., Cynthia C. Morton, Ph.D., Andrew P. McMahon, Ph.D., Doug Powers, Ph.D., and Douglas A. Melton, Ph.D., "Derivation of Embryonic Stem-Cell Lines from Human Blastocysts," The New England Journal of Medicine (March 25, 2004).
5. AP, "Harvard Offers Free Access to Stem Cells," The Los Angeles Times, p. A8 (March 4, 2004).
6. Laura Johannes and Antonio Regalado, "Privately Funded Research Yields New Stem-Cell Lines," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, 2 (March 4, 2004).
7. Editorial, "Privatization of Stem Cells," The New York Times, p. A26 (March 9, 2004).

White House Dismisses Elizabeth Blackburn from Bioethics Council

Click for details. Then Click for Blackburn's response in the NEJM.


1. Rick Weiss, "Bush Ejects Two From Bioethics Council Changes Renew Criticism That the President Puts Politics Ahead of Science," The Washington Post, p. A6 (February 28, 2004).
2. AP, "Bush Dismisses Members from Bioethics Council," The Los Angeles Times, p. A18 (February 28, 2004).
3. Elizabeth Blackburn, "Bioethics and the Political Distortion of Biomedical Science," New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 350, No.14, pp. 1379-80 (April 1, 2004).

[ Editorial Remarks: Could you really expect anything else? Hopefully, we will be able to create a brand new Council on Bioethics after the voters send President Bush back to Crawford, TX in November.

BTW, if you don't consider this to be a "chess game" among adversaries, consider that the news of Prof. Blackburn's dismissal had to be released at some point, since it couldn't be concealed forever, otherwise embarrassing questions would certainly be raised by reporters, but realize that the White House had complete control over the release of this information in terms of its timing. It could have been done on any day of the week. So therefore, why not pick late Friday afternoon when the news will appear in the Saturday editions of most newspapers, for which the circulation is at its lowest point during a seven-day week? Do you really believe that this timing was coincidental or might it not have been calculated to manipulate the friendly opposition? Obviously, we didn't miss this story, did we? We hope to report on the upcoming AAAS version of this saga, as soon as it becomes available.]

Seoul is First to Clone Human Embryos and Publish Method in Peer-Reviewed Journal

Eight Cloned Human Embryos
For a wonderful silent, 30-second video-clip in Apple Quicktime format on Wired Magazine's website, click on the animated image below...

[Editor's Warning: January 10, 2006; This 2004 article has been scheduled by the Editors of Science Magazine to be retracted in the very near future. See the News Item for this date above.]

February 12, 2004; Seoul, SOUTH KOREA - As reported in today's Science magazine, this achievement by a team from the National University is seen as a breakthrough for stem-cell therapy. The team included one American, Dr. Jose Cibelli of Michigan State University in East Lansing. As is the case with animal cloning, yields were not high, and the team was lucky to get a result they could publish. 16 Korean female volunteers were stimulated (hyperovulation) to produce 242 eggs, which underwent SCNT, and after five days ---> 30 blastocysts ---> of which only one produced a reproducible stem-cell line in culture. This means that we have a lot more to learn before we achieve high confidence in our methods.

Published in Science On-line on February 12, 2004
Submitted on December 9, 2003; Accepted on February 4, 2004

"Evidence of a Pluripotent Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Line Derived from a Cloned Blastocyst," Woo Suk Hwang [1*], Young June Ryu [2], Jong Hyuk Park [3], Eul Soon Park [2], Eu Gene Lee [2], Ja Min Koo [4], Hyun Yong Chun [2], Byeong Chun Lee [2], Sung Keun Kang [2], Sun Jong Kim [3], Curie Ahn [5], Jung Hye Hwang [6], Ky Young Park [7], Jose B. Cibelli [8], Shin Yong Moon [5*]
1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, SOUTH KOREA School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, SOUTH KOREA
2. College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, SOUTH KOREA
3. Medical Research Center, Mizmedi Hospital, Seoul, 135-280, SOUTH KOREA
4. Gachon Medical School, Incheon, 417-840, SOUTH KOREA
5. College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, 110-744, SOUTH KOREA
6. School of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, 471-701, SOUTH KOREA
7. College of Natural Science, Sunchon National University, Sunchon, 540-742, SOUTH KOREA
8. Department of Animal Science-Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:,


Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) technology has recently been used to generate animals with a common genetic composition. In this study, we report the derivation of a pluripotent embryonic stem cell line (SCNT-hES-1) from a cloned human blastocyst. SCNT-hES- 1 cells display typical ES cell morphology and cell-surface markers and are capable of differentiating into embryoid bodies in vitro and of forming teratomas in vivo containing cell derivatives from all three embryonic germ layers in SCID mice. After continuous proliferation for >70 passages, SCNT-hES-1 cells maintain normal karyotypes and are genetically identical to the somatic nuclear donor cells. Although we cannot completely exclude the possibility of a parthenogenetic origin of the cells, imprinting analyses provide support that the derived human ES cells have a Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer origin.


1. AP; Beeper: (9:00 PM PST; February 11, 2004).
2. Rosie Mestel, "Scientists Say Human Embryos Cloned: Cloning Feat Called Breakthrough," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 4 (February 12, 2004).
3. Antonio Regalado, "Koreans Clone Human Embryo, Reap Stem Cells," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1,7 (February 12, 2004).
4. Prof. Arthur Caplan, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, CNN-TV, Thursday, February 12, 2004; 8:03 AM PST; TRT = 4:50).
5. AP, "Call Renewed in U.S. for Ban on Human Cloning," The Los Angeles Times, p. A7 (February 13, 2004).
6. AP, "Clone Report Sparks Fresh Debate," CNN (February 13, 2004).
7. Rosie Mestel, "Clone Is One Step in Extended Process," The Los Angeles Times, p. A7 (February 13, 2004).
8. Antonio Regalado, "Cloning by Koreans Stirs Washington Over Research Issue," pp. A1, B3 (February 13, 2004).
9. CNN-TV, "Interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, M.D." (8:45 AM PST; February 13, 2004).
10. "Christopher Reeve Responds to Critics of Stem Cell Research"
Quadriplegic actor Christopher Reeve and Harvard Bioethicist Prof. Felton Earls squared off last night in front of a crowd of 350 undergraduates. Prof. Earls pointed out that "therapeutic cloning would essentially create a new class of humans, whose sole purpose is to be killed for the benefit of others." In response, Mr. Reeve emphasized the potential application of stem-cell research toward regenerating neurons. He is also alleged to have used some well-known Anglo-Saxon curse word to characterize the good professor.
11. Stephen S. Hall, "Specter of Cloning May Prove a Mirage," The New York Times, pp. D1, 2 (February 17, 2004).
"Prof. Rudolf Jaenisch of MIT provided photographs of a normal-size newborn mouse and a mouse with 'Large Offspring Syndrome,' which is a frequent problem in all sorts of cloned mammals."
"Regarding the issue of renewed calls for a complete ban on all forms of human cloning, including therapeutic cloning for medical research, the Bush Bioethics Council [Chaired by Dr. Leon Kass of the University of Chicago] split sharply. In discussions leading up to the Panel's Report, " Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry" (July 2002), the Committee failed to muster a majority in favor of a blanket ban on both therapeutic and reproductive cloning. Only 7 of 17 voting members supported a complete ban; three others supported a moratorium. Indeed, the Panel's public discussion leading up to the Report revealed considerable sentiment in favor of therapeutic cloning, as long as it was properly regulated."
12. Claudia Dreifus, "Two Friends, 242 Eggs, and a Breakthrough: A Conversation with Drs. Woo Suk HWang and Shin Yong Moon," The New York Times, pp D1, 2 (February 17, 2004).
13. Four Letters to the Editor, "The Road to Cloning: Caution Ahead," The New York Times, p. A22 (February 17, 2004).
14. Editorial, The New York Times (February 13, 2004).
15. The New York Times, p. A1 (February 12, 2004).
16. Barbara Demick and Jinna Park, "South Korea a Fertile Field for Research into Cloning," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 8 (February 17, 2004).
"Prof. Kim Hwan Seok, a sociologist and activist in the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, one of South Korea's most powerful civic associations, said, "We feel there is an ethical problem with artificially producing a human embryo for the purpose of experimentation."
17. John Travis, "Tailoring Therapies: Cloned Human Embryo Provides Stem Cells," Science News, Vol. 165, No. 7, p. 99 (February 14, 2004).
Prof. Rudolph Jaenisch of the MIT Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA siad this is a "solid paper."
Prof. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University said, "This is reality. Here is a bona fide, refereed journal [ Science] saying that a human embryo has been cloned and an embryonic stem-cell line derived from it.
Dr. Laurie Zoloth, a Bioethicist at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL said, "The debate has been very polarized."
18. Gretchen Vogel, "Human Cloning: Scientists Take Step Toward Therapeutic Cloning," Science, Vol. 303, No. 5660, p. 937,9 (February 13, 2004).
Dr. Jose Cibelli of Michigan State University in East Lansing, a co-author of the paper, but who didn't take part in the actual cloning, said, "Two years ago, ACT got only 20 usable eggs, while the Korean team got 242 eggs... Wow, I'm drooling."
19. Humorous Editorial, "Life in the Clone Zone," The Los Angeles Times, p. B10 (February 23, 2004).
"...Maybe the Dodgers new owner could clone some clutch hitters."
20. Mark Derr, "The Triumph of Hope Over Science," The New York Times, Op-Ed Page, Section A (February 25, 2004).
A patient with Parkinson's Disease complains that progress with stem-cell technology may be too slow to benefit him.
21. Michael D. Lemonick, Dan Cray, Donald Macintyre, Eli Sanders , and Sora Song, "Cloning Gets Closer: How a Team Cloned Human Cells to Fight Disease - And Why That's Revolutionary," Time Magazine (February 2004).
"If you had a way to zero in on the DNA that's causing a disease," said Dr. Irving Weissman, M.D., Director of Stanford's Institute for Cancer/Stem-Cell Biology and Medicine, "this would be a transforming technology as important as recombinant DNA."

[ GRG Editorial: We were moderately happy about to see this article appear in Science. But we're still wondering why it's taking us so long to make real progress. What took us so long, anyway? Are there remaining, in principle, technical problems that we don't understand or what? Is it just an issue of manual dexterity (metal chop sticks are used in Korea) and the numbers of willing donors?

Therefore, we were really mortified by the hostile reaction triggered by this (seemingly pedestrian) incremental work. The litany of adverse response from the same old reactionaries (like Sen Sam Brownback ( R - KA) and The Roman Catholic Church to name just two) is no surprise. But there seem to be some new faces amongst the ranks of the detractors, like Rep. Joseph R. Pitts ( R- PA) and Sen. Majority Leader William Frist, M.D. ( R - TN), who is a physician (a surgeon) by training. What's going on? How could someone who is so knowledgeable behave so self-righteously? It's almost as though Frist forgot how to speak English. He used English "words." He put the words together in a "syntactic form" that appears to be English. But there's no "semantics" to go with the word phrases. He is reputed to have said on the floor of the Senate...

"The South Korean breakthrough is an alarming development. To clone a human being is to move from procreation to manufacture of human life. If human beings are special, if human beings are truly sacred, then we must devote ourselves to a better world. But we must not do evil to bring about good."

It's like "Hello! Are you there?" {Forgive the "valley-girl" talk.} Do you know what the words "begin" or "end" mean? Embryos are the "beginning of human personhood, not the same thing as human personhood. Are you committing murder when you trim your finger nails? Or are you killing a human being when you shave your beard or get a hair cut? Are there really little men hiding inside the head of each sperm ( homunculi)? The "sacredness of a preimplantation embryo" is a concept that has no correspondence in any reality we know of. Calling medical scientists evil because they are attempting to develop human embryos for therapeutic cloning of stem cells is indignant, religious claptrap. We would agree to call the Taliban "evil," while they tore down the ancient statues of the Standing Buddhas. But at least the Taliban had the excuse that they didn't speak our language. So our opinions didn't matter to them, nor conversely, theirs to us. But telling me in English that "2 + 2 = 5" is *not* a typo, nor an error of any sort, and, in fact, "something that should be taught in school and in the standard textbooks as correct" makes me wonder what pathological event took place in your brain to drive you against all scientific reason, even though you presumably grew up in the same country as I did, speak the same language as I do, and went to medical school, as I did. Even Aristotle taught that abortion before the stage of what he called "rational ensoulment" was not to be considered as murder. Do you really believe that either fertilized eggs or pre-implantation embryos have "souls"?

We can expect to have more debate of this sort in the future when real voting starts in the Senate, presumably before the end of 2004. Sens. Edward Kennedy (D - MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D - CA) are you listening? Can you help us keep the debate on track!]

For additional reading see...
1. Jane Maienschein, Whose View of Life? Embryos, Cloning, and Stem Cells (Harvard University Press; Cambridge, MA; 2003; 304 pp., $19.57 on
Aristotle clearly defined the stages of embryogenesis as follows: (1) a fetus first has a vegetable soul, then (2) an animal soul, and finally, (3) a rational soul. Could a soul (or person) be said to exist without a mind [and therefore without a (prerequisite) brain (read Central Nervous System, which can only occur, according to our colleagues who teach a medical course called "Human Embryology," after organogenesis begins, which is way after implantation, in time])? If you believe the answer is "Yes, souls exist at the moment of conception (fertilization)." then I suggest that you better go look for a spiritualist, who might put you in touch with your dead relatives, and "all bets are off." Otherwise, maybe a psychiatrist would be appropriate to help you figure out how you came to be delusional.
2. Robert Winston, "Playing God? Scientists Must Let Society Decide on the Ethics of Reproductive Technologies," Nature, Vol. 426, No. 6967, p. 603 (December 11, 2003).

Then, take the following (humorous) multiple-choice exam question:

When does [human] personhood [life] begin?

A. With the twinkle that occurs in the eye of a man when he notices a really beautiful girl walking on the opposite side of the street.
B. Ejaculation of sperm during a hard erection
C. Intercourse performed in the dark
D. Intercourse without orgasm by either partner (copulation permitted only by persons married in an acceptable Anglo-Saxon Protestant Church in the missionary position)
E. Intercourse when at least one partner has an orgasm
F. Intercourse when both partners have a "simultaneous orgasm"
G. Conception (fertilization of the egg by several sperm between 1 and 48 hours after intercourse while the woman is undergoing ovulation)
H. Implantation of a pre-embryo (blastocyst) in the uterine wall (about two weeks post coitus)
I. Placentation
J. Organogenesis (an embryo with a visible beating heart)
K. Fetogenesis (including limb formation)
L. Quickening (Mother detects fetal limb movement -- punching and/or kicking)
M. Fetal heart beat heard by stethoscope (or amplified audio transducer) separate from the maternal heart beat
N. Threshold of fetal viability (Following a fatal traumatic injury to the Mother without injury to the fetus, can a team of neonatalolgists rescue the baby in intensive care? Consideration starts at about [18 - 19] weeks.) O. Conspicuously viable fetus visible on ultrasound imaging
P. Birth of a healthy live baby (either by vaginal delivery or by C-Section and with high APGAR scores) at about [38 - 40] weeks.
Q. Proper delivery of the "Afterbirth" (Placenta) [birth + [2 - 5] minutes]
R. An infant delivered feet first (or buttocks first as a "breech baby") must be killed instantly, since this baby would represent significant bad luck for the entire tribe. [ "Persistent breech" after attempts to rotate the baby's head to the vertex position have failed, which occurs in 3.2 percent of all vaginal deliveries at one hospital, usually is handled most expeditiously today by means of a routine C-Section. Nevertheless, there is an entire 12-page chapter with drawings and photos of how to perform a vaginal extraction of a breech baby in Williams (standard textbook) that every obstetrician needs to be familiar with. Do not send this problem to a midwife.]
S. Baby says "Ma Ma"; or "Da Da," rapidly followed by graduation from Kindergarten, Grade School, High School, Undergraduate School, Graduate School, Medical School, and then receives Tenure at a top-ten ivy-league medical school
T. A male child gets married and his wife produces at least one male child (grandchild) needed to carry on the family name and tradition. ( Primogeniture for the eldest born grandson in the line of succession, whose legitimacy and inheritance rights are guaranteed by a Last Will and Testament. It would also be useful to have a family crest and to trace your blue-blood genealogical roots back to the Mayflower, but this is not essential under law.)

[ Answer: "Personhood" is a Fuzzy Set whose Membership Function encompasses many but not all of the above choices form A to T. It is left as an exercise for the reader to figure out which ones and to send your answers to before the Contest Deadline of Midnight, April 1, 2004. You may be a winner! The prize will be some valuable form of recognition, TBD.]

Californians for Cure

February 9, 2004; If you're a voter in the State of California, please click on the following website to find out how you can help by signing a petition to get a "Stem-Cell Research and Cures Funding Initiative" on the California Ballot in November (we will need 1 million voter signatures) in order raise $3 billion (with a "b") over a ten-year period for clinical studies of embryonic stem cells to be used in curing Type-1 Diabetes, spinal-cord injury, and various neurodegenerative diseases... Cures for California.

The Scientific Advisory Committee includes the following:

* Co-Chair, David Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience, Caltech
* Co-Chair, Paul Berg, Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Research Emeritus, Director Emeritus, Beckman Center, Stanford University, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1980)
* Co-Chair, Fred Gage, Ph.D., Professor, Laboratory of Genetics, Salk Institute
* Co-Chair, Lawrence Goldstein, Ph.D., Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine
Co-Chair, Irving Weissman, M.D., Director, Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine
* Jeffrey Bluestone, Ph.D., Director, UCSF Diabetes Center
* Steve Forman, M.D., Director of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, City of Hope * Hans Kierstead, Ph.D., University California at Irvine
* Evan Snyder, M.D., Professor and Director, Stem Cells and Regeneration, Burnham Institute
* Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of the Yamamoto Lab, UCSF

For more information, contact:

Californians for Stem Cell Research and Cures
1438 N. Gower Street, Box 37
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Voice: 323-468-3391
FAX: 323-468-3393


1. Antonio Regalado, "California Advocates Try to Put Stem-Cell Initiative on Ballot," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B8 (February 9, 2004).
2. Constance Holden, "Stem-Cell Research Could Be Ballot Issue," Science, Vol. 303, No. 5656, p. 293 (January 16, 2004).

IVF Regulation Proposed: Bush's Bioethics Advisory Council Yields to Patient Privacy Advocates

January 16, 2004; Washington, D.C. (WSJ) - - Following an outcry by infertility specialists, OB/GYN doctors, and patient-rights groups, the President's Bioethics Council Chaired by Dr. Leon Kass, has dropped recommendations calling for greatly increased monitoring of in vitro fertility clinics throughout the US on the grounds that it would be "too intrusive." The changes to the first draft of the document reflects concerns articulated by vocal patient advocates. Some critics have charged the Council Staff with trying to assign new rights to human embryos - for instance, describing them as "children-to-be." Mr. Carter Snead, Committee General Counsel, said that "this was not the Council's intent, and that this language had been dropped."

[ GRG Editorial: Although it is surely important, we are less concerned with Patient Right's issues here than the English usage that went into calling pre-implantation embryos "children-to-be." As a concession, the deletion of this phrase from the final report due out by the end of the year, will not be forgotten. This linguistic construction ("children-to-be") signals a fundamentally flawed world view. Furthermore, it reveals a hidden agenda of those who are fearful of allowing scientists seeking to investigate Nature without their own strict supervision. On the other hand, the scientists whom they seek to control have a right to ask "What are your credentials for admission to play in my sandbox?" "You don't even seem to have the training to know the right words to describe what you seek to regulate (even with the help of your lawyers). You appear to invent your own phrases by combining otherwise perfectly good English words as it suits your fancy." Just like you invented the phrase "research cloning" to describe what cloning scientists for years had previously called "therapeutic cloning." Continuing along this vein, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard President Bush use this phrase for the first time. At first, I didn't know what he was talking about. All I knew was that he appeared to be against what I was definitely for, and now he was calling what-he-didn't-like by a new name (maybe easier to be against, since it had a neutral connotation rather than an affirmative one, and when you're the sole speaker at the pulpit you get to define the playing field). But he didn't have the courtesy to define his newly-coined term, as though biologists had always called this "bad thing" by his own description, so that everyone would clearly get the message that "it was bad." The evangelical fundamentalists working in secret to create a regulatory fait accompli in the name of the Office of the President (you stand a greater chance of success if you can do it that way) regarding their perception of dangerous "mad scientists who won't go quietly in the night" must cause them to lose sleep at night. Such scientists might make the world different and perhaps less congenial for the wealthy "ruling class," who, as a group, appear to have almost nothing in common other than their lust for cash and "favorable tax policies for the wealthy." If this Editorial appears to be another cynical characterization of "politics as usual," it is really more true of the current Administration than any other of recent memory (five decades). Are we really being led by "deaf men in the presence of a blind man"?]


Antonio Regalado, "Fertility Panel Drops Monitoring Plan: Group Retreats on Tracking of Embryos, Babies' Health after Outcry Over Privacy," The Wall Street Journal, p. A9 (January 16, 2004).

Rift in Business/Science of Anti-Aging Medicine

Dr. Coles at A4M

January 12, 2004; Las Vegas, NV - Some see aging as a disease to be cured. But many doctors cite a lack of research and question the motives behind a growing movement. Click for details or click on the photo.


1. Valerie Reitman, "A Rift in Business, Science of Aging," The Los Angeles Times, pp. F1, 4 (January 12, 2004).
2. Julie Deardorff, "A Prize without a Whit of Honor," Chicago Tribune, p. 1 (March 14, 2004).

Howard Dean Is First Democrat to Publicly Criticize President Bush's Stem-Cell Ban in His Political Campaign

January 10, 2004; Rochester, NH; Dean told a town-hall meeting yesterday that "if elected, I would allow stem-cell research." He has a nephew with diabetes who "could benefit from it."


AP, "Dean Criticizes Bush on Stem-Cell Ban," The Los Angeles Times, p. A9 (January 10, 2004).

Bee Genome Completed

January 10, 2004; "The Honeybee has now joined a collection of animals whose gene maps are available for anyone to inspect," U.S. researchers said. The sequence of Apis mellifera was published by the Honeybee Genome Project (HBGP) led by the Baylor College of Medicine Genome Sequencing Center with support from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). They currently fund the sequencing project to produce between 7- and 8-fold sequence coverage of the honeybee genome in a mixture of Whole Genome Shotgun (WGS) and low-coverage BAC-clone sequencing.


"Honeybee Genome Is Made Available," The Los Angeles Times, p. A14 (January 10, 2004).

Most US States Get Failing Grades for their Inability to Implement Tobacco Programs

January 6, 2004; Despite the fact that the states receive billions of dollars in settlement money each year to fund tobacco prevention and control programs, the American Lung Association Annual Report released today gave 38 states a grade of "F" for failing to do so. Furthermore, 23 states received an "F" because of their apparent inability to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors. However, five states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and Rhode Island, got an "A" rating in two of four categories, while New York was the only state to receive an "A" in three areas.

The American Lung Association says "440,000 people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses, while smoking costs the US about $75 billion in direct medical costs and $82 billion in lost productivity each year." Think of adding up all the innocent deaths over the last century not due to lung cancer but just due to fires caused by smokers falling asleep in their bed while puffing on a lit cigarette. How long is it going to take for the FDA to take charge of this aspect of American recreational drug use that poisons our citizens so conspicuously? Regulations regarding "second-hand smoke" are now starting to be felt in all public buildings, bars, and restaurants in many states, but not every state complies with these minium regulations, since there is not yet a set of Federal guidelines about this despite the best efforts of our Surgeon General.


1. AP, "Most States Fail to Fund Tobacco Programs," The Wall Street Journal, p. D6 (January 6, 2004).
2. AP, "Failing Grades on Tobacco Programs," The New York Times, p. A19 (January 6, 2004).

New Jersey Law Authorizes Stem-Cell Research

January 5, 2004; Trenton, NJ ( AP) - - New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey signed a stem-cell research bill that he said would "move the frontiers of science forward." The research involves the use of fetal and embryonic tissue. President Bush, however, citing ethical considerations, has limited US funding for embryonic stem-cell research to existing lines of cells. McGreevey was joined by quadriplegic actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed after a 1995 fall from a horse that severely damaged his spinal-cord. Reeve has subsequently become a strong advocate for national research and development and has established a non-profit foundation to support stem-cell research.

Abortion opponents, however, have criticized the bill on the grounds that it does not limit the uses of the new embryos nor does it forbid their implantation of an embryo for the purpose of reproductive cloning. Ms. Marie Tasy, the Legislative Director of New Jersey Right-to-Life said "the bill was pushed through in a lame-duck session of the legislature just before the holidays, when no one would notice, at the behest of the biotechnology industry, and there's big money to be made there."


1. AP, "New Law Permits Research on Stem Cells," The Los Angeles Times, p. A10 (January 5, 2004).
2. Laura Mansnerus, "In Stem-Cell Law, Supporters See Opportunity for New Jersey," The New York Times, p. A24 (January 6, 2004).
3. AP, "$6.5 Million Earmarked for N.J. Stem-Cell Institute," The Los Angeles Times, p. A35 (February 22, 2004).
The Institute will be based in New Brunswick and managed by Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

News Items for 2003

Click for News Items from 2003.