Volume 276 Issue 5684, 9 November 1978



  • News |

    • Britain's Genetic Manipulation Advisory Group (GMAG) is preparing to adopt a new approach to assessing the risks of ‘genetic engineering’ experiments. GMAG's statement—approved in principle at a meeting on 2 November—appears below. The scheme is based on an attempt to assign numerical risks to individual experiments as a product of three factors: the ‘access factor’, the ‘expression factor’, and the ‘damage factor’. But the numbers are used only to rank the risks so that the experiments can be assigned consistently to the containment categories I to IV. Qualitative matters are also taken into account, for biology has not yet been reduced entirely to numbers. The scheme will be used when there are enough data to employ it; otherwise assessment will revert to the old Williams ‘phylogenetic’ guidelines. Its great virtue appears to lie in its objective scientific basis and its consequent encouragement to research on risks.

  • News |

    During 1978, three cosmonauts from Eastern Europe visited the Soviet Salyut-6 orbiting space station. Vera Rich talks to the Polish cosmonaut, Miroslaw Hermaszewski in Warsaw

    • Vera Rich

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