Genetic credentials

January 15, 1999

Dave King quotes Mae-Wan Ho as suggesting that in order to be appointed as a lecturer at The Open University in 1976 she passed herself off as a population geneticist ("Objector on the road to gene hell", THES, December 25).

As head of the department to which she was appointed and member of the board that appointed her I am glad to make clear that it was indeed her expertise as a traditional biochemical geneticist, though one with innovative ideas, that attracted us, although we were glad to learn she was interested in population genetics and strongly supported her Medical Research Council-funded research in that field when she joined us. Since those early days, her research interests have shown a number of transitions, through all of which she has continued to receive such baseline research support as the department could offer her, in line with other teaching colleagues.

Since joining the department she has been promoted successively to her current readership position and it is, of course, not the case that the university requires the imprimatur of those with whom she (or I) might differ ideologically or scientifically in order to make such promotions.

Steven Rose Director, brain and behaviour research group, and professor of biology, The Open University, Milton Keynes

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