Dr Dickinson's letter to the Agricultural Select Committee in January 2001 may be read here.
Professor Hugh Pennington's full review of the Phillips Report may be read by clicking this link. Of Dr Alan Dickinson, Prof Penningotn writes:
"TSE research has attracted certain kinds of scientist:Of all the dramatis personae in the Phillips Inquiry, Alan Dickinson fits most convincingly into the first group.
those who work on problems because they are difficult,
and those who seek the big prizes.
An intellectually rigorous man who puts science a long way ahead of office politics, he resembles the image that the public has of the brilliant, unworldly scientist. Only someone on another plane would work on the genetics of scrapie. But his virtuoso studies laid the basis for all current work on TSEs. He is a typical product of the British biometrical/statistical school of genetics that was particularly active in the first half of the 20th century. .......
Dickinson worked on the factors that determined susceptibility to TSEs, using scrapie as his agent and sheep and mice as the host. By crossing different strains of mice and studying different strains of scrapie he established that a single gene, sinc, controlled the incubation period of the disease.
This work was a tour de force not only because of its conceptual complexity and difficulty, but because each experiment took a year or more to carry out. Sometimes the mice died of old age before the experiments were finished. .....
Stanley Prusiner was indebted to Dickinson and won the Nobel Prize for the straightforward task of putting biochemical flesh on the genetic - more abstract - bones that Dickinson provided.
........ Dickinson might have shared a Nobel Prize with Prusiner in 1997, but by then he had taken early retirement from the directorship of the research unit he used to run, a casualty of one of the many 'rationalisations' of government-funded science institutes that took place on a grand scale during the Thatcher years, along with massive funding cuts. It is by chance, not design, that the unit still survives. Phillips recounts the whole sorry tale. No doubt those who planned these changes thought that by concentrating scientists in 'centres of excellence', better science would result for less money. They defend their actions by saying that they had no choice. They are right in so far as the driving force was the Treasury. Its dark presence lurks throughout the whole BSE saga as insidiously as the agent of the disease itself."See also Dr Dickinson's witness statement to the Phillips Inquiry into BSE.