GENTECH archive


[interdoc-y2k 183] Re: scientist / master conductor

I noted earlier that most GE debates presume good intentions on the
part of scientists. So I posed a question, what if we had scientists
with evil intentions from the start; what would be some of the things
they can do?

It was in that context, I think, that the Israeli germ warfare report
was posted. Here's another item below, a "contagious" contraceptive,
as proposed by a discussant on the INTERDOC-Y2K list.

Roberto Verzola

* Original is in : INTERDOC-Y2K
* Original date  : 11 Jan 1999 19:19:2
* Original is by :                        (6:751/401)
* Original is to : rverzola                           (6:751/401)

Long term carrying capacity estimates of planet Earth are around two
billion [2] -- one third of present numbers.  But there is much more
humane solution to the "baby problem" than misery and death.  If we
were to simply treat the "baby problem" like the "smallpox problem",
then our collective problem could be quickly solved.

The most humane method I can imagine is "contagious contraceptives".
See NEGATIVE POPULATION GROWTH: Why We Must, and How We Could, Achieve
It, by John B. Hall, University of Hawaii. Population and Environment,
Volume 18, Number 1, September 1996.

Here is a sample:

"The immune system, which usually functions to protect us from
disease, but also is involved in allergies and the rejection of
transplanted organs, can be harnessed to contraception (Anderson &
Alexander, 1983; Aldhous, 1994). A contraceptive vaccine has been
suggested for veterinary use (Miller & Dean, 1993). In this
application, the female animal to be sterilized is injected with
preparations of the zone pellucida (the outer envelope of the egg
cell) from a different species of animal. The injected female responds
to this foreign material by producing antibodies against it. These
antibodies, however, also recognize the different but related material
on her own eggs, a process called 'cross-reaction,' and attack these,
destroying them. The death of these egg cells in the ovary releases
the controls on maturation of immature egg cells and they begin to
develop. As they approach maturity, they are also recognized by the
immune system and destroyed in turn. A run-away cycle of maturation
and destruction follows, and within a few months all of the potential
egg cells in the animal's ovary have matured and been destroyed, and
the female has been nonsurgically sterilized (Skinner, et al, 1984).
Such a dramatic procedure would probably have little application in
human contraception except in rare cases in which the person concerned
wished to be sterilized, and since it would probably induce menopause,
is unlikely to be acceptable even then. However, many less absolute
contraceptive actions can also be mediated by the immune system.

"Many cases of natural infertility occur because the woman produces
antibodies against sperm which are recognized as foreign bodies by her
tissues (Bronson, et al, 1984). Vaccines could probably be developed
that would stimulate more women to produce such antibodies with a
corresponding decrease in their fertility (Primakoff, et al, 1988;
Primakoff, 1994). In yet another approach, women have been vaccinated
with peptide sequences similar to those found in certain hormones
involved in reproduction (Talwar et al, 1993; Talwar et al, 1994).
Very effective vaccines can be produced by splicing gene segments for
the desired peptide sequences into some of the genes of the vaccinia
virus (Moss, et al, 1984; Talwar et al, 1993; Talwar et al, 1994) and
then using this virus to vaccinate the subject, just as it was used to
vaccinate against smallpox. The peptide sequences produced by the
virus stimulate antibody formation, the antibodies would cross react
with the naturally occurring hormone in the woman's body, and
reproduction could be inhibited. Many such alternatives that harness
the immune system in the service of contraception are available."

This paper is archived at:

I realize some of you don't have web access, so I setup an
autoresponder. If you will send a message to and a
you will receive a complete text version of Hall's paper by return