April 24, 2024


After a blast of criticism following reports in the British press that he was not the main figure in cloning Dolly the sheep, Professor Ian Wilmut as been defended by fellow scientists. “I have no reason to think Wilmut did anything wrong,” Dr Richard Henderson, of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge told The Scientist. And German scientist Eckhard Wolf, of the University of Munich, noted that first authors do not have to be directly involved in a project. “If the basis of the research was his idea, then there is no reason why he should not be first author,” he said. Also, contrary to a report in The Scotsman newspaper, the Frankfurt-based Paul Ehrlich Foundation has denied that it intends to strip Wilmut of a prestigious prize.

Naturally, there were other scientists who still feel that Wilmut should not have taken the lion’s share of the credit for the landmark experiment. “Yes, this is common practice in scientific publishing,” said prominent embryonic stem cell scientist Miodrag Stojkovic. “But, in my opinion, it is not fair practice.”