Biomedical research, teaching, and testing
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1993:
The report in our November issue
that a George Washington University team
had cloned human embryos was in error,
based on an erroneous article in The New York
Times. What the researchers actually did was
achieve artificial embryonic cell division,
which creates the possibility of conceiving
twins via in vitro fertilization.
Veterinarian/astronaut Dr. Martin
Fettman on October 30 performed the first
dissections in space, assisted by Dr. Rhea
Seddon, aboard the space shuttle Columbia.
Five of the 48 rats aboard were dissected to
observe the effects of weightlessness on vari-
ous organ structures. The remainder were
killed and dissected after landing.
The Baxter Health Care
Corporation, the world leader in making tis-
sue valves from pig hearts for use in human
heart surgery, reportedly discards nine of each
10 pig aortic valves it receives because they are
damaged in removal at the slaughterhouses that
A new appeals procedure for sci-
entific fraud cases introduced in November by
the Department of Health and Human Services
strengthens legal protection for accused
researchers. On appeal of an adverse ruling
by the Federal Office of Research Integrity, a
federally funded scientist is now entitled to a
hearing at which legal rules of evidence pre-
vail. Thus in addition to proving error, FORI
must now prove intent and damages.
An anonymous survey of 4,000
U.S. university researchers published
November 11 by American Scientist discov-
ered that 43% of students and 50% of faculty
have direct knowledge of more than one kind
of misconduct in their own laboratories.
Plagiarism and misuse of research money were
the most commonly reported offenses.
Falsification of data by students was reported
by 13% of faculty and 16% of students; falsi-
fication of data by faculty was reported by 6%
of faculty and 8% of students.
The November 23 revelation that
Heidelberg University had used human cadav-
ers including those of children in car crash tests
touched off a national furor in Germany and
brought a denunciation from the Vatican, to
the astonishment of U.S. car safety researchers,
who use cadavers in lieu of the nonhuman pri-
mates commonly used until the early 1980s.