March 3, 2017

Cloned cows

Whenever I'm lucky enough to get tickets, I go to random recordings of BBC Radio shows. Last night I snagged two tickets to the recording of the last in the current series of Radio 4's The Now Show, which is a humorous romp through the week's news with a couple of witty songs thrown in for good luck. A lot is lost in the edit I'm sure but live it's a great, if somewhat short, evening out.

Last night's recurring theme during the recording was that of cloned cows. Earlier this week news emerged that meat and milk from cloned cows had entered the food chain in Scotland - something which is perfectly normal in the USA, but here in the UK it is illegal without special permission.

Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt took a refreshingly intellectual approach to the underlying science behind cloning, eschewing the usual tabloid feeding-frenzy of hyped up exaggeration and ridiculous and baseless claims of impending doom for a more thoughtful and analytical approach, which methodically dissected and pulled apart the entire media response.

This might seem like an odd topic for this blog but I chose it because the general portrayal of science in the media is of interest to Eagle as a scientific organisation. The way even the usually most balanced and reasonable media outlets demonise and fan the flames of fear and hate against any new scientific ideas relating to food production is incredible considering they usually get all the facts wrong and have no idea of the true processes involved - but as this misinformation comes from a respected source of news the audience follows in their opinion and action like (possibly cloned) sheep.

Its about time the media and other people in powerful places woke up to the importance of taking the time to properly understand a scientific event before passing judgment on it.

Topics: Bioinformatics