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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 17:07, March 13, 2006
The right to the creation of clone Dolly
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British media reported on March 8 that the first author of the research report on world's first clone sheep Dolly - Scottish scientist Ian Wilmut when accused of plagiarism in another research revealed the truth about the cloning of Dolly. He said he assumed not insignificant instruction role in the cloning of Dolly. His colleague Keith Campbell brought forth the idea of cloning from frozen cell and should have 66 percent of the credit for the research while the whole test was actually carried out by another colleague Richie.

As the first author of the Dolly research report Ian Wilmut's fame soared as the "father of Dolly". Now he has admitted that he is not so qualified as the "father" nor the primary executor of the research.

Most contemporary scientific research activities are carried out collectively and require a team to accomplish. Judging by the situation of the Dolly cloning Ian Wilmut was the "leader", Keith Campbell was the presenter of the idea and methodology while Richie was the actual executor. When it comes to the summing up, report and award of a successful scientific research, things become more of "sociology" and "politics".

The case of Dolly cloning shows that there is perhaps "officialdom worship" in the UK as well and corresponding hidden rules, which made Ian Wilmut the senior author. But Ian Wilmut is still, after all, a scientist and he believes this time that originality is the most important in scientific research, that 66 percent of the credit goes to Keith Campbell.

The exact situation is still not clear. Common sense gives rise to speculation that Ian Wilmut as an authoritative and renowned scientist assumed the role of head of the program. Contemporary scientific research is like venture investment, and requires the undertaker to have credibility. It has become normality and natural phenomenon that program funds increases as "fame" goes up. In a commercial society the phenomenon that the richer one is the more likely he will become even richer coexists with the phenomenon that the more famed one is the more likely he will be even more famed. The root is the social advantage in taking up resources. The phenomenon has its inevitability as well as unreasonableness and the society must have the capability to redress it.

If there had been a brief statement in the research paper honestly recording the contribution of each person for public review today's trouble may have been avoided. It is still not clear whether Ian Wilmut wielded or acquiesced to the hidden rules, but there is no double that his handling of the matter was not commendable and honorable. It seems that transcending selfish desires and the evil of fame and gain is a rather precious trait in human.

The article written by Huang Qing is carried on the 12th page of People's Daily on Mar.13 and translated by People's Daily Online


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