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March, 2015:
I recommend Knoeplfler's book for an overview of the stem cell field.

Thanks for making this class an enjoyable teaching experience for me.

Bill's Brief Bio:

I'm from Brooklyn (can't you tell?). I grew up under an elevated part of the New York subway system. An academic all my life, I served on the faculty of Johns Hopkins and Rutgers Universities for a combined total of 38 years. I retired in 2008 and Gail and I followed our grandkids to Austin.

I love to teach. For me, it's a way of combining writing, directing, and hamming it up. I also like to play at golf and fool with photography. I'll post some of my heavily edited photos on this site above and below.


Welcome to Cloning and Stem Cells!

Thank you Sage for motivating me to learn about stem cells. I've always been interested in what makes cells different from one another, but I knew nothing of the cells which give birth to differentiated daughters until I was asked to present this seminar.

What's so fascinating about this topic, besides the basic science, are the ethical issues that it raises. Questions such as "When does life begin?", "Should we clone humans?", and "Should we resurrect extinct animals?" will, no doubt, get people agitated. It certainly should stimulate some lively discussions! No fisticuffs please.



Probably the best book about stem cells for non-scientists is "Stem Cells: An Insider's Guide" (World Scientific Publishing Co.Pte. Ltd, 2013), by Paul Knoeplfler of the University of California at Davis. Paul is a scientist, not a writer, and it shows. But the book is up to date and not filled with too much jargon. I got the Kindle version from Amazon, but it is available in paper as well.

Two books by Ian Wilmut are worth reading if you want to learn about cloning. The first, “The Second Creation” by Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell, and Colin Tudge. Harvard University Press, 2000, is written in the spirit of Jim Watson's epic, "The Double Helix". It is real insight into how "Dolly" came into being. A later book on the same topic, “After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning”, by Ian Wilmut and Roger Highfield . WW Norton & Co., 2006, is not as entertaining, but is worthwhile as well.