Mount Holyoke College

Biology 321, Spring 2003
Cloning, Stem Cells and Bioethics

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In January 2002 President Bush named the members of his Council on Bioethics, established to advise the President and lead national debate on issues such as cloning, stem cell research and genetic engineering. A couple of weeks later, when the semester began, I tried a novel approach to the teaching of bioethics. Each student in my upperlevel course took on the persona of a national (or international) figure involved in the current debate on human cloning, and staged a mock debate for the 143 members of the Introductory students of Bio 200. To read about this event in 2002, click HERE. I then repeated the exercise the following year (spring 2003). To see the handout given to the Introductory students right before the debate in 2003, click HERE.

Based on the success of the event in 2002, I published an article in the online Journal Cell Biology Education (published by the American Society for Cell Biology). To see this paper, click HERE.

In 2003 our class participated in the special semester-long focus on Cloning and Stem Cells sponsored by the Weissman Center for Leadership, called "The Political Embryo:Reconceiving Human Reproduction". Students attended all of the events, and the following speakers came to our class for 2-hour discussions: James Robl (Hematech), Scott Gilbert (Swarthmore College), Rebecca Dresser (Washington University School of Law) and Gina Kolata (Science reporter for the New York Times).

In spring of 2006 I took the class to Washington, D.C. to attend a session of the President's Council on Bioethics. To see pictures from this wonderful field trip, click HERE.


Cloning, stem cells and bioethics, 2002

Cell Biology Education publication on this teaching project

Website for the President's Council on Bioethics