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May 06, 1981 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1981-05-06

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Piige 4-?Hedrn'esdali, y 6;,981= fie' chig'c i doily
Honored prof
talks of genetics

By JOHN ADAM
More than 175 students and faculty
members packed the Rackham am-
phitheater Monday afternoon to honor
and hear a lecture by one of the world's
foremost researchers in human
genetics who will retire this summer as
chairman of the University's depar-
tment of Human Genetics.
Prof. James Neel, a pioneer in the
field of human genetics, explored the
effects of mutation in human
populations during his lecture. He said
the dangers of radiation exposure and
its effects on genetic mutation have
been exaggerated by the federal gover-
nment.
NEEL, CITING HIS estimate that
humans are less sensitive than mice to
the effects of radiation by a factor of at
least four, said, "the genetic risks of
radiation, while real, have been over-
stated by most of the (congressional)
select committees considering the
question."
Neel also dismissed common concer-
ns that industrial societies, by virtue of
their constant exposure to high-
technology, are more prone to genetic
mutations. Instead, Neel said that more
primitive societies may actually have a
greater mutation rate.
"WITH ALL DUE caution, we
suggest that mutation rates might be
higher in primitive people than in
civilized types," Neel said.
Neel, who says that his retirement
from the University does not signal an
end to his long career in research, has
been named the recipient of the
prestigious third annual Distinguished
Faculty Lectureship. He has also
recently been elected as president of
the Sixth International Congress of
Human Genetics.
Neel's career has spanned from the
study of the genetic effects of atomic
radiation on the survivors of the 1945
atomic bomb blasts in Japan to the

monitoring of primitive tribes in the
South American jungle. This summer,
Neel will step down from the chairman-
ship of the University department that
he founded nearly 25 years ago. Since
those early beginnings, Neel has led the
Department of Human Genetics as it
grew into the largest and one of the
foremost in the country.
Neel was honored at Monday's
gathering by his colleagues, who awar-
ded him both the Distinguished Faculty
Lectureship and a $500 honorarium.
THE AWARD WAS GIVEN to Neel
for his research over the past five years
in analyzing recent trends of mutations
in human populations and individuals.
"It is particularly noteworthy that Dr.
Neel, on the eve of his retirement, is
being honored for distinctive, new
research," said Dr. James Cather,
chairman of the Biomedical Research
Council.
Cather hailed Neel as one of the most
distinguished scientists on the Univer-
sity's campus and "the single most in-
fluential person in human genetics
today."
Neel's latest research uses "2-D gel"
electrophoresis and automatic image
analysis to assess genetic damage.
"This technique," states Neel, "has the
potential of raising our ability to study
genetic changes to a level of magnitude
not obtainable before."
"Whereas now we can look at
proteins one at a time, in the future we
may, be able to look at them 100 at a
time," he said. This will, of course,
tremendously increase our ability to
detect genetic damage, Neel said.

In Brief
Compiled from Associated Press and
United Presss International reports
Mormon president speaks out
against proposed missile system
SALT LAKE CITY-Saying that Mormon pioneers came West to spread
"the gospel of peace," Mormon Church President Spencer Kimball issued an
unusual plea to President Reagan yesterday not to put the MX mobile
missile system in Utah and Nevada.
The 86-year-old Kimball, considered a prophet by the 4.7 million members
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, urged that an alternative
be found to concentrating the missiles in any one area of the nation.
The White House and the Pentagon had no immediate comment.
The Air Force wants to spread 4,600 bomb-proof missile bunkers over
millions of acres of land in eastern Nevada and western Utah. Two hundred
MX missiles, each carrying 10 nuclear warheads, as well as several hundred
look-alike dummy rockets, would be shuttled among the bunkers on heavy-
duty roads in what has been described as an elaborate "shell game" to con-
fuse the Soviet Union.
Reagan is scheduled to make a decision on how to deploy the MX late this
summer, after he gets a report from a private review panel studying alter-
natives. The system must be funded by Congress, and the General Accoun-
ting Office estimates it will cost $56 billion.
Exhumations planned in
hospital death investigations
RIVERSIDE, Calif.-Investigators probing 27 suspicious deaths at two
Southern California hospitals decided yesterday to exhume at least 11 bodies
to examine the tissues and vital organs for a drug found in three other vic-
tims.
The decision to dig up the remains-some buried two months
ago-followed news reports that a nurse who worked at both hospitals had
been suspended and that some elderly victims had received abnormally
large doses of a local anesthetic.
Officials refused to say whether they had any suspects in the case of
multiple deaths and described as "premature" a broadcast report that a
nurse who worked at both hospitals was suspected of killing several patients.
Thomas Hollenhorst, Riverside County assistant district attorney, iden-
tified the hospitals as Community Hospital of the Valley in Perris, and San
Gorgonio Hospital in Banning.
He said last week that at least six of the 24 suspicious deaths in Perris were
due to causes other than those given by the hospital. On Monday, he said
three similar deaths were unovered at the Banning hospital.
State approves measures to
implement Proposal A
LANSING (UPI)-The Senate gave final legislative approval yesterday to
measures needed to implement the 1.5 percentage point sales and use tax in-
creases contained in Proposal A.
A separate House-passed bill implementing the proposal's property tax
reductions was approved by the Senate and returned to the House with minor
modifications.
The tax reform plan, appearing on a May 19 special election ballot, was at-
tacked by the state's small'landlords, and the Senate Democratic leader
conceded it is in trouble.
Proposal A would cut local property and income levies in half in return for
a 1.5 percentage point increase in the state sales tax. The added revenue
would help the state cover the cost of reimbursing local governments for
their losses.
Water restored to leper
colony after four days
KALAUPAPA, Hawaii-The 125 victims of leprosy living in an isolated
colony on a Hawaiian island got their water turned on again yesterday after
four days of strict rationing.
After a landside caused by heavy rains last Thursday destroyed a reser-
voir dam serving the Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement, residents were restric-
ted to five hours of water service a day. One dialysis patient at the
Kalaupapa hospital was airlifted to Honolulu, but officials said no one was in
danger. Many residents bathed in the sea and hauled salt water for
household needs.
But the patients in the settlement, which is vulnerable to the quirks of
nature, are accustomed to losing their water and sometimes their elec-
tricity. A March earthquake cut off the settlement's water service for three
days, and in April a helicopter severed its electric wires.
A 13-man crew worked since Friday, often waist-deep in mud, to connect
water pipes linking the colony with a freshwater stream in a nearby valley.

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BEIT MIDROS11
(Jewish Studies Classes)
SPRING TERM May 12-June 11
BaSIC )UDAISM
4 hrs. per week
(including basic Hebrew)
TUES. 7:00-9:00 P.M.
THURS. 7:00-9:00 P.M.
TALMUD STUDY GROUP
Time TBA
Interested parties contact
Rabbi Rod Glogower at Hillel

0

Foundation

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FOR MORE INFO:
Stop by HILLEL
1429 Hill St.
OR CALL
663-3336

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