CORVALLIS - Controversial and thought-provoking issues arising from the Human Genome Project will be the focus of the 2001-02 Horning Lecture Series at Oregon State University.

The series will bring to campus six nationally recognized scholars who will examine legal, moral, ethical, financial and scientific aspects to understanding the human genome. The series, "The Human Genome: Historical and Contemporary Issues in Science, Law and Medicine," is sponsored by the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities at OSU.

"The public is being confronted with a series of scientific, ethical and policy questions arising from the mapping techniques of the Human Genome Project," said Robert Nye, the Horning Professor of the Humanities at OSU. "These issues echo familiar moral and scientific issues, but are more complicated and challenging than any we have faced before."

Leading off the series will be David Magnus, an ethicist and philosopher of science from the University of Pennsylvania. His lecture, "The Moral and Social Consequences of the Genetic Revolution," will begin at 4 p.m. in Memorial Union Room 206. It is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Magnus will address a series of questions relating to scientists' new ability to test for genetic traits and predispositions, the problems of confidentiality and regulation raised by such activities, and the wide range of social, family and worked-related issues that are directly affected by such tests.

Among the questions he raises: Who owns life if genes common to us all can be patented? What is a family in the era of cloning and new reproductive technologies? Should business and government be allowed to test for genetic dispositions and talents?

Magnus was trained as a philosopher at Stanford University and is now a professor of ethics and science at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published on a variety of topics related to bioethics, including eugenics, gene patenting, cloning, evolutionary theory and species concepts.

Other speakers in the series include Daniel J. Kevles, Yale University; Diane B. Paul, University of Massachusetts at Boston; Wylie Burke, University of Washington; Mark Seielstad, Harvard University; and Mildred K. Cho, Stanford University.

The Horning Endowment also is sponsoring a conference on Health and Medicine in Colonial North America. The all-day event on April 27 (in Memorial Union Room 208) will bring to campus eight scholars who will explore the nature of medicine and health care, disease and mental illness in early America. They will look at the tensions and collaboration between medical professionals and lay healers, concepts and treatment of insanity, and the nature and efficacy of medical intervention.

"Many of the health decisions that our colonial ancestors puzzled over are with us still today," Nye said.

All of the Horning lectures and the conference are free and open to the public.


2001-02 Horning Lecture Series and Conference

"The Human Genome: Historical and Contemporary Issues in Science, Law and Medicine"

Oct. 18
"The Moral and Social Consequences of the Genetic Revolution," by David C. Magnus, University of Pennsylvania, 4 p.m., MU 206.

Nov. 29
"Knowledge, Commerce and the Human Genome Project: A Case History of Post-Cold War Science," by Daniel J. Kevles, Yale University, 4 p.m., MU 206.

Jan. 17
"From Reproductive Responsibility to Reproductive Autonomy," by Diane B. Paul, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 4 p.m., MU 206.

Jan. 31
"Genetics and Health: Is Genetic Knowledge a Tool, a Goal, or a Threat?" by Wylie Burke, University of Washington, 4 p.m., MU 206.

Feb. 28
"Genetic Archaeology and the Impact of Culture on Human Variation," by Mark Seielstad, Harvard University, 4 p.m., MU 206.

April 11
"Gene Patents and Public Policy: Ethical Issues and Empirical Studies," by Mildred K. Cho, Stanford University, 4 p.m., MU 206.

April 27
The Horning Conference: "Medicine and Health in Colonial North America," an all-day conference in MU 208.

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Robert Nye, 541-737-1310