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Letter: Why we are right to be worried by Dolly

Lewis Wolpert is as mistaken about the implications of cloning as IBM was about the impact of the electronic computer - they thought they might sell 50 world-wide ("What's all the fuss about?", Review, 23 March). The procedure he describes as "difficult, expensive and risky" will become easier, cheaper, safer and possibly quicker. His contemptuous reference to science fiction is very far from showing the degree of understanding one might expect. Science fiction has both inspired scientists and technologists (space rockets and the nuclear submarine, for example) and examined in advance the practical and ethical problems that new developments would bring. Writers and readers of science fiction have been considering cloning and the genetic modification of humanity since Brave New World and Last and First Men were written in the 1930s. Bokanovsky lives!

John Parfitt