- The dictionary definition of personhood reads: ‘the quality or condition of being an individual person’, which does not advance our understanding of this term! Indeed, the concept of personhood has exercised philosophers for centuries, the state being variously, and disputedly, accorded the attributes of life, individuality, consciousness, agency, self-awareness, empathy, and/or the capacities to anticipate, remember, plan and choose – the capacity to exercise free will. How personhood is understood is of great significance, as, when conferred socio-legally on an individual, it carries with it privileges, protection and rights, together with responsibilities and liabilities – sometimes incorporated into the political and legal concept of citizenship.
- Bibliographic databases provide us with easy access to many more journals than was possible when each of us editors started in science. We well remember the treks around libraries, the frustration of the missing volumes and the broken photocopier, the ‘reprint request’ post cards sent and received, and the bundling up of hard copy papers for posting to our colleagues. Now, at the press of a button, papers can be located, paid for (unless freely accessible), down loaded, filed – and sometimes even read! However, with this easy access to databases and papers come problems: notably the increased risk of deliberate or accidental plagiarism (Cohen et al., 2012) and the fact of information overload.
- The placenta has to be the most complex organ in the body – genetically, functionally and structurally. It is uniquely complex genetically, comprising tissues of both maternal and fetal genotype in close apposition, as well as having a complex gene expression profile according to the parental epigenetic imprint inherited on selected genes. It is complex functionally in its sheer range of hormonal products, combining roles assigned to many or most other endocrine glands, and also in its transport systems, its physical anchoring role, and in its immunological properties.