Silver, Lee M(errill) 1952-
SILVER, Lee M(errill) 1952-
PERSONAL: Born April 27, 1952, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Joseph and Ethel (Goodman) Silver; married Susan Remis, August 25, 1985; children: Rebecca, Ari, Maxwell. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A., M.S., 1973; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1978. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish.
CAREER: Cornell University, Medical School, New York, NY, assistant professor of genetics, 1979-80; Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, visiting assistant professor of genetics, 1980; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, senior scientist, 1980-84; State University of New York—Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, assistant professor of genetics, 1981-84; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, professor, 1984—.
MEMBER: International Mammalian Genome Society, Genetics Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow).
AWARDS, HONORS: Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1978-79; postdoctoral fellow, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute, 1977-80; Merit Award, National Institute for the Humanities, 1995.
(Editor, with Gail R. Martin and Sidney Strickland) Teratocarcinoma Stem Cells, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Cold Spring Harbor, NY), 1983.
Mouse Genetics: Concepts and Applications, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Leland Hartwell, Leroy Hood, Michael L. Goldberg, and others) Genetics: From Genes to Genomes with Genetics, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1999, 2nd edition, in press.
Editor in chief, Mammalian Genome, 1990-2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Last Taboo: Biotechnology and the Reconstruction of the Human Soul, publication by Ecco Publishers (New York, NY) expected in 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: The study of mice in the laboratory has been important for the understanding of human genetics, biology, and disease for close to 100 years. Lee M. Silver's book, Mouse Genetics: Concepts and Applications, describes how mice came to be used by researchers as laboratory animals and includes chapters about the animals' reproduction and their genomes (chromosomes with the genes or inherited factors they contain), as well as gene mapping. Readers of this text can also learn about computer databases designed for mouse researchers and sources for obtaining laboratory mice. B. W. Auclair wrote in Choice that "students and researchers involved in mouse genetic research will find Silver's book a welcome addition to their shelves," and called the book a "well-written overview." Michael Potter and Beverly Mock assessed Mouse Genetics as "a unique synthesis of modern molecular genetics and the biology of the laboratory mouse" in Science. These reviewers also pointed out the growing need for familiarity with the biology of "this fascinating creature," and they labeled the book as understandable, practical, and unified, with a "pleasing and easy style." "Silver's insightful interest in the evolution of genomes surfaces over and over again in the text, making this book an exciting introduction to the comprehensive biology that is involved in the intriguing mysteries of the evolutionary process," Potter and Mock concluded.
Silver's next work, Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World, examines the science and the moral and ethical concerns surrounding the latest technologies in human genetics and reproduction, including genetic screening and enhancement, cloning, and surrogate motherhood. The author "entertains even the wildest and most speculative notions because—as he argues persuasively—the future is already here," reported Paul Raeburn in the New York Times Book Review. "Many genetic and reproductive manipulations that seem to be science fiction are far closer to reality than we recognize," Raeburn continued.
In Remaking Eden, Silver argues that government will be unable to regulate or intervene in the use of genetic and reproductive technologies because parents will demand them in order to choose and shape their children's genetic characteristics, perhaps to create "designer" children from a computerized menu or to eliminate from a child the genes that carry a disease or enhance a gene in such a way as to prevent an illness. According to Raeburn, Silver "finds dizzying layers of contradiction in most religious and ethical arguments against one or another reproductive or genetic technology."
Silver also addresses the possible impacts of genetics technology on society and the entire human race (such as black-market cloning or the creation of a new species of humans) in Remaking Eden, and he joins the debate about when human life begins. Raeburn noted that Silver "argues that human reproduction does not belong at the center of the biological universe." Another reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that Silver presents his material clearly and called Remaking Eden "a scientifically astute guide to thorny territory."
A biologist, geneticist, and teacher of bioethics, Silver also coedited Teratocarcinoma Stem Cells, a collection of papers presented at a meeting of researchers at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in September, 1982.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, December, 1995, B. W. Auclair, review of Mouse Genetics: Concepts and Applications, p. 642.
New York Times Book Review, January 11, 1998, Paul Raeburn, review of Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World, pp. 11-12.
Publishers Weekly, November 3, 1997, review of Remaking Eden, p. 75.
Science, December 8, 1995, Michael Potter and Beverly Mock, review of Mouse Genetics, pp. 1692-1693.