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Cloning, genetics highlight lecture

November 28, 2000

Anne McLaren, a research associate on genetics, reproductive biology and developmental biology at Cambridge University, will deliver a free lecture at the Auditorium on Wednesday night.

McLaren, the principal research associate at the Wellcome/CRC Institute of Cancer Research and Developmental Biology at the United Kingdom-based college, was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She has written an article for Science Magazine about 100 years of cloning.

The 7:30 p.m. lecture, “Cloning: Pathways to a Pluripotent Future,” will be in the Fairchild Theatre.

Douglas Luckie, an assistant professor of physiology at Lyman Briggs School, said McLaren’s genetic research has focused mainly on the cells of laboratory mice. Pharming, a combination of genetic engineering and nuclear transfer technology, plays a large role in genetics today.

Luckie said scientists can now potentially put the nucleus of a human skin cell in a female egg, and the egg will take on all the genetic properties that a regular cell would.

McLaren is a fellow of The Royal Society, she’s received the society’s Royal Medal in 1990 and served as its vice president, becoming the first woman officer to hold the post in 332 years.

She is a member of both the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, which advises the European Commission on social and ethical implications of new technologies, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK, which regulates in vitro fertilization and human embryo research.

Wednesday’s speech will be the fourth in a series of five McPherson Professorship lectures - a seminar series that MSU President M. Peter McPherson initiated earlier this year to highlight the importance of science in society.

The lecture series was established by McPherson and his wife, Joanne, after receiving an anonymous $2 million donation.

Ronald Fisher, director of the Honors College, said he expects several hundred of the available seats to be filled Wednesday night.

“This is the fourth, and we’ve had large crowds for each one of them,” Fisher said. “Everyone has been very gratified from the level of interest on the part of the students and faculty.”


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