Cloned beef causing uproar in Britain traced to Wisconsin cow

Oxford dairy farmer harvested DNA from champion Holstein in 2000

By Karen Herzog of the Journal Sentinel Aug. 14, 2010

Mark Rueth's Holstein cow Paradise had just been crowned supreme champion of the World Dairy Expo in Madison in 2000 when a biotechnology company salesman approached him ringside and offered a cut-rate deal to clone Paradise so she could "live forever," and make his farm more profitable.

The Oxford dairy farmer and cattle breeder agreed, and the salesman immediately pricked the prize cow's ear to harvest DNA.

The world of cloning hasn't exactly been paradise for Rueth in the decade since, and especially during the past two weeks. Recent headlines in the British press screamed that two male offspring of a Paradise clone were slaughtered for beef that entered the food chain. Milk from a daughter of a Paradise clone also was traced to the British food supply, setting off consumer fears about food safety.

"The English people get in an uproar about stuff," Rueth said last week, noting that a British reporter and photographer showed up unannounced at his farm. "It's not like you're manipulating or changing the DNA. Half of the DNA from the clone's offspring is from the father."

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate milk or meat from offspring of cloned animals, and doesn't require labeling. Two years after the agency concluded those food products were safe, they're in the American food supply.

However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requests that the industry continue a voluntary moratorium on placing products from original clones in the food supply to allow trade partners in other countries to pursue their own regulations.

Full story.

Dr. Derse named Director of Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at The Medical College of Wisconsin

Arthur R. Derse, M.D., J.D., will assume responsibilities as director of the new Medical College of Wisconsin’s Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, effective July 1, 2010.  The new center combines the College’s existing Center for the Study of Bioethics with its Medical Humanities Program.  The Center will be part of the College’s Institute for Community, Population and Public Health.

Arthur Derse2010According to Jonathan Ravdin, M.D., dean and executive vice president, “The goal of the new Center is to have an integrated approach to meet the education, research, clinical, and community health needs while enhancing the impact and academic excellence of both bioethics and medical humanities. Under Dr. Derse’s leadership we look forward to the growth of the Center as it continues to make major contributions to the missions of the College.”

Dr. Derse is currently a professor of bioethics and emergency medicine and was formerly the associate director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics and director of the Medical College’s Medical Humanities Program. He directs the Medical College’s Medical Ethics and Palliative Care course and medical humanities courses. He also directs graduate bioethics courses encompassing law, ethics education and ethics consultation in health systems. He was elected to the College’s Society of Teaching Scholars and is an Arnold Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine awardee.

His appointments include chair of the Veterans Health Administration’s National Ethics Committee, senior consultant for academic affairs for the American Medical Association’s Institute for Ethics, and member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging. He is past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, and is a member and former chair of the Ethics Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He is chair of Froedtert Hospital’s Ethics Committee and serves on several other institutional ethics committees and editorial boards of ethics journals including the American Journal of Bioethics and the Journal of Clinical Ethics.

Dr. Derse has been a member of many expert advisory boards and committees, including the NIH Working Group on Informed Consent in Clinical Research Conducted under Emergent Circumstances. He is a highly published investigator and scholar in bioethics and medical humanities.

As universities tighten ethics policies, drug firms turn to private physicians to promote products

By John Fauber of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: March 14, 2010

This article is part of an ongoing series about how money and conflicts of interest affect medicine and patient care.

When looking for a doctor to travel the country and tout its costly prescription fish oil pill, GlaxoSmithKline didn't select a heavyweight university researcher.

Instead, it wrote checks to Tara Dall, a Delafield primary-care doctor who entered private practice in 2001.

For just three months of speaking engagements last year, GlaxoSmithKline paid Dall $45,000, ranking her among the most highly paid of more than 3,600 doctors nationwide who spoke for the company, which released records for only one quarter of the year.

The practice of doing promotional speaking for drug companies has come under fire in recent years.

Full story.

Creation of 'GM' monkey heralds health revolution

Gene breakthrough offers hope of treatments for 'incurable' Parkinson's disease and MS

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Scientists yesterday announced a breakthrough that could transform research into a range of incurable diseases but spark a dramatic increase in the number of monkeys used in experiments. Researchers have developed a technique to create genetically modified monkeys that suffer from human illnesses.

Experimenting on these monkeys, they believe, will advance our understanding and treatment of incurable conditions such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. However, the scientific breakthrough has caused consternation among groups opposed to animal experiments because the development will almost certainly lead to a sudden increase in the number of primates used in medical research at a time when there are calls for fewer monkeys to be used in experiments.

The development also raises the prospect that we will be able to apply the technique to humans – another primate. This could help families affected by inherited disorders such Huntington's disease and cystic fibrosis by permenantly eradicating their defective genes from future generations.

Full story.

April 23 and 24 -- 8th Annual International Bioethics Forum: Sustainability

Where:  BioPharmaceutical Technology Center, Madison, WI
When:  April 23-24, 2009

OVERVIEW: Join us for a lively two days of information-sharing and discussion regarding this important - and often challenging (sometimes controversial) - topic! This year's program is designed to allow participants to explore these questions: How do we define “sustainability” and what are the causes of “unsustainability?” What are the most relevant technologies for us to understand? How are various sectors and organizations responding to these issues, e.g. governmental units, research/educational institutions, businesses and faith communities? What is the role of the individual decision-maker? Does what one person does - or does not do - matter?


Jaimie P. Cloud, M.A. (President, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education)
Calvin B. DeWitt, Ph.D. (Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison)
Lewis S. Gilbert, Ph. D. (Associate Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison)
Regina Hauser, J.D. (Executive Director, The Natural Step Network)
Mary Ann Lazarus (Senior Vice President, Sustainable Design Director, HOK)
Robert Streiffer, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Medical History and Department of Philosophy, UW-Madison)
Paul B. Thompson, Ph.D. (Professor, W. K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Michigan State University)

For More Information

Medical College Physician and Bioethicist Arthur R. Derse Honored By American Society for Bioethics and Humanities

Arthur R. Derse, M.D., J.D., director of medical and legal affairs and associate director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is this year's recipient of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities' (ASBH) Distinguished Service Award.

ASBH is the professional organization of scholars who teach bioethics and medical humanities in universities and professional schools and those who engage in clinical ethics consultation.

Dr. Derse is also director of the medical humanities program and professor of bioethics and of emergency medicine at the Medical College.  He is chairman of the ethics committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Veterans Health Administration's National Ethics Committee, a member of the American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging, and senior consultant for academic affairs at the American Medical Association's Institute for Ethics.

He serves on the advisory board and as faculty for the Education in Palliative and End-of-life Care Project.  He is co author of Practical Ethics for Students, Interns and Residents, 3rd Edition and the Code of Ethics of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Hybrid Embryo Research Endorsed

By Mary Jordan

Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, May 20, 2008; A07

LONDON, May 19 -- British lawmakers voted Monday to allow the use of animal-human embryos for research after a national debate that pitted religious leaders who called it unethical against the prime minister and scientists who said it would help cure disease.

Last month, scientists at Newcastle created part-human, part-animal embryos for the first time in Britain. An attempt Monday night to ban the process, during consideration in the House of Commons of the first major revisions to embryo research laws in a generation, failed overwhelmingly on a vote of 336 to 176.

The overall bill, argued Prime Minister Gordon Brown, would enable lifesaving research that could help people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other diseases. He said in an article published in the Observer newspaper Sunday, "I believe that we owe it to ourselves and future generations to introduce these measures."

The bill would allow scientists to continue injecting human DNA into cows' eggs that have had virtually all their genetic material removed, as well as other hybrid embryo processes for stem cell research. Scientists say the embryos would not be allowed to develop for more than 14 days.

Full story.

Seventh Annual International Bioethics Forum: Evolution in the 21st Century

Gehrke & Associates, SC is a proud sponsor of the Seventh Annual International Bioethics Forum: Evolution in the 21st Century taking place at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center in Madison, WI on April 17th and 18th, 2008. 

Lisa M. Gehrke, JD, MA will be a featured speaker for a discussion session on Patenting Living Organisms.

For more information please visit BTCI’s website.

Synthetic DNA on the Brink of Yielding New Life Forms

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer

It has been 50 years since scientists first created DNA in a test tube, stitching ordinary chemical ingredients together to make life's most extraordinary molecule. Until recently, however, even the most sophisticated laboratories could make only small snippets of DNA -- an extra gene or two to be inserted into corn plants, for example, to help the plants ward off insects or tolerate drought.

Now researchers are poised to cross a dramatic barrier: the creation of life forms driven by completely artificial DNA.

Scientists in Maryland have already built the world's first entirely handcrafted chromosome -- a large looping strand of DNA made from scratch in a laboratory, containing all the instructions a microbe needs to live and reproduce.

In the coming year, they hope to transplant it into a cell, where it is expected to "boot itself up," like software downloaded from the Internet, and cajole the waiting cell to do its bidding. And while the first synthetic chromosome is a plagiarized version of a natural one, others that code for life forms that have never existed before are already under construction.

The cobbling together of life from synthetic DNA, scientists and philosophers agree, will be a watershed event, blurring the line between biological and artificial -- and forcing a rethinking of what it means for a thing to be alive.

Full story.

Human clones: New U.N. analysis lays out world's choices

Report says ban on human reproductive cloning, coupled with restricted therapeutic research, is global compromise most likely to succeed

The world community quickly needs to reach a compromise that outlaws reproductive cloning or prepare to protect the rights of cloned individuals from potential abuse, prejudice and discrimination, according to authors of a new policy analysis by the United Nations University’s Institute of Advanced Studies (

A legally-binding global ban on work to create a human clone, coupled with freedom for nations to permit strictly controlled therapeutic research, has the greatest political viability of options available to the international community, says the report: Is Human Reproductive Cloning Inevitable: Future Options for UN Governance, released Nov. 12 by A.H. Zakri, Director of UNU-IAS, based in Yokohama, Japan.

Virtually every nation opposes human cloning and more than 50 have legislated bans on such efforts. However, negotiation of an international accord foundered at the UN in 2005 due to disagreement over research cloning (also called therapeutic cloning).

"Human reproductive cloning could profoundly impact humanity," says UN Under-Secretary-General Konrad Osterwalder, Rector of UNU. "This report offers a plain language analysis of the opportunities, challenges and options before us – a firm and thoughtful base from which the international community can revisit the issue before science overtakes policy."

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