Beth Wictum is lab director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) at the University of California at Davis. It's a forensics lab that helps investigators solve crimes using animal DNA. For instance: a key clue in a sexual-assault conviction was dog urine. The victim was unable to identify the suspect but her dog had relieved himself on his truck during the assault. The lab has also used animal DNA to help identify the remains of an animal on the side of the road or to determine if a neighbor's dog has killed a beloved cat. The lab has the largest database of domesticated-animal DNA in the U.S. The VGL was established to determine the parentage of cattle and horses.
Christopher Scott is Executive Director of the Stanford University Center for biomedical Ethics Program in Stem Cells and Society. He is the author of the new book Stem Cell Now: From the Experiment That Shook the World to the New Politics of Life (Pi Press). In the book Scott explains the biology of stem cells, the history of this scientific breakthrough, and the politics and ethics surrounding it. (Broadcast Date: February 14, 2006)