Mad Cows and Molecular Biology

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Tue Apr 2 21:45:39 EST 1996

On 2 Apr 1996, Gavin Fischer wrote:

> Alexander Berezin (berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA) wrote:

(on Pruisner - deleted).

> Hardly accurate portrayal. I am sorry that this example will not fit
> within your ability to bash. For an ignored person he sure has
> published a lot in very good journals and has funding. 

The above (publishing in good journals and having funding)
in not synonimous of a wide recognition. I know many people
who have both the above and nonetheless are magninalized
quite heavily.

> An ignored person/field probably would not have either 
> of these things. 

Disagree - see the above. Recognition (of people,
and/or ideas), publishing and funding are all quite
different things and often realted only cursory (or not 
related at all, or even contr-related).

> I would say that this whole episode was a triumph 
> not a failure. 

Don't get your point here.
I have never said that Pruisner and/or prions is 
a failure. I see them rather as a success.

> I have been taught recently (I am a young graduate 
> student) that prions are proteins, and while all 
> of the details aren't worked out- they
> are the most likely cause of the disease. I have 
> seen Dr. Pruisner speak
> twice- to packed lecture halls. 

Happy to hear this. 
> Probably should have checked this before you started 
> slamming the whole field. [ Molecular Biology, MB ].

Here I remain sceptical. I have heard 
from a number of BIOLOGISTS about the adverse
effect of 'too strong emphasize on MB' at 
the expense of a severe neglect of many other 
biological areas. 

We have yet to see if HGP (Human Genome Project) 
is for real or just another in-fashion fad,
a balooney which is on its course to hit 
a 'so what ?' wall in a few years. Presently
I certainly won't bet on either side as it is 
unlikely will be clear before few years from now
if there are any REAL benefits from it to
So, my guess at the moment is at best 50-50.

[ rest deleted ] 
> Gavin Fischer
> BU program in immunology

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