Angier, Natalie. "Action of Gene in Huntington's Is Proving a Tough Puzzle," New York Times,
2 November 1993, p. C3.
This same newsperson has another piece in this same issue of the Times in which she describes
the studies of voles and their possible implications for human beings. In those studies, it is clear
that hormones are determining of parental behavior and the model is used for humans.
Here is a somewhat less grand story. In the spring of 1993, the announcement of the
Huntington's disease was discovered and the work hailed as important. Here was a disease that
was "clearly genetic." Now, however, the story is shown to be not quite as simplistic as scientists
hoped: the gene does not work in the manner predicted: "The new results suggest that in its
healthy incarnation the gene plays a role in the performance of many organs. Yet this global
utility presents a puzzle: patients with Huntington's disease harbor a defect in the gene in every
cell of their bodies, but only the basal ganglia cells seem to suffer as a result of the inherited
"I'd have to say these results don't give us any clues to what the pathology of Huntington's might
be," said Dr. Theresa V. Strong, the lead author of the new report."
In all, the biological reductionism model is shown again to be simplistic.