Examining the legacy of W. French Anderson—’father of gene therapy’ and convicted child molester

French Anderson AP x
Anderson appeared at a hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court in February 2005. Image creditL AP Photo/Walt Mancini

[Dr. W. French] Anderson has been hailed as the father of gene therapy and was honored at George H.W. Bush’s White House. In 1991, the New York Times ran a laudatory story headlined “Dr. Anderson’s Gene Machine.”

But in July 2006, Anderson was convicted of three counts of lewd acts on a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse, including fondling her genitals. The sexual assaults started in 1997 when the girl was 10 and Anderson was 60.

This May, Anderson, now 81, was released on parole. Two weeks later, STAT spoke to him. We were interested in his views — as someone who’d once been near the pinnacle of medical science — of the research advances during his years behind bars.

Related article:  Inside the quest to find a place in modern medicine for magic mushrooms as a treatment for depression, other mental illnesses

Anderson was wistful about how science had marched on without him and described scenes one doesn’t associate with prison life: an inmate trying to keep up with genetics, eagerly opening envelopes from his wife stuffed with issues of Science, Human Gene Therapy, and Genetic Engineering News.

Even when Anderson summed up his life by saying, “I used to be famous and now I’m infamous,” it seemed matter-of-fact more than rueful. He feels like Muhammad Ali, he said, an icon at the top of his game whose life and career were derailed by what he calls a flawed, unjust system.

Read full, original post: Out of prison, the ‘father of gene therapy’ faces a harsh reality: a tarnished legacy and an ankle monitor

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend