I would like to add one observation to your fine article on "The Biotech Century" (Special Report, Mar. 10). The essential feature of the biotech revolution is that it is converting medicine from an empirical guessing game into a bona fide science. Every technical field goes through this transition. When it does, advances occur at an unimaginable pace. The critical moment comes when a scientific area goes from trial-and-error to prediction based on knowledge of the inner mechanisms and principles at work. We are now on that threshold in the medical field.
Charles J. Bodenstab
The possibility of cloning the human species raises grave concerns. Will there be anybody to control or regulate the outcomes of such research in order to avoid unpredictable catastrophes? Or will it even be possible, considering our experience trying to regulate nuclear proliferation or cyberspace? The consequences of human cloning will certainly be much worse than the problems we encounter with computer hacking or virus infestation. Our experience in cyberspace should give us an indication of the possibilities and the problems associated with human cloning.
Joseph K. Chemplavil
BUSINESS WEEK's complete embrace of the "Biotech Century" conveniently ignored many of the horrific failures associated with genetic-engineering and cloning, and it glossed over the complex ethical issues involved in tampering with life.
This "revolution brewing in the lab" has already produced its share of problems. Most Americans are wary of genetically engineered products and cloned animals. There should be an immediate moratorium on the cloning of animals--including the splicing of human genes into animals--pending a full public debate on the ethical and environmental consequences of this new and troubling technology. And there must be a complete ban on the cloning of human beings. Any other policy is irresponsible and potentially dangerous.
Pure Food Campaign