EtBr carcinogenicity

Thu Apr 13 07:47:00 EST 1995

Andrey Shaw says he doesn't wear gloves any more because molecular biologists
dont all have tumors on their hands.  Given the complexities of tumorigenesis,
this is a crude functional assay to say the least.  Until I read his message,
I was hesitant to add my anecdotal evidence to the debate.  As an undergraduate
I used to carry EtBr containing gels with bare hands, not because I was naive,
but rather careless. In grad school a few years later, I had to argue with two
doctors to do a biopsy on a "wart" on the side of my index finger exactly where
I used to balance the gels.  The test was negative, and hopefully that was the
end of it.  Now I wear gloves.  This discussion on EtBr has taken on the 
qualities of arguments people use to rationalize not wearing sunscreen and 
to continue smoking.  I hope as scientists we can be objective and not let bias
cloud an important issue.

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