Fertile ideas with bald concepts

May 19, 1995

Jon Turney asserts in his review (THES, May 12) that he has at least one sentence which is non-contentious as it is based on "an incontrovertible biological fact". Perhaps he is optimistic. A new individual does not begin when "a sperm and an egg unite at the moment of conception". It probably begins when individuation is initiated at gastrulation, some two weeks later in humans. The "moment of conception" is not a clear term either.

Perhaps he means the "moment" of fertilisation. But fertilisation is an extended process, and covers many events. These are baldly described as the sperm and egg uniting. I note with interest that he teaches science communication.

JOHN C. McLACHLAN

School of biological and medical sciences

University of St Andrews

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

Cricket player and umpire exchanging bribe

The need to accommodate foreign students undermines domestic practices, says Lincoln Allison, spying parallels between UK universities and global sports bodies such as Fifa