July 13, 2000
"HUMAN GENOME EFFORT ON VERGE OF NEXT GREAT STEP
from The Los Angeles Times"
Biology and medicine are fast approaching a historical watershed, the entire sequencing of the human genome, that will likely mark all biomedical research for future chroniclers as occurring before or after. The 10-year effort to compile the incredibly complicated instruction manual for making a human being is drawing to a close, as government and private scientists race
to the finish line.
And though genetic science traces a long line of achievement from Gregor Mendel through Watson and Crick, the real answers lie ahead in the deciphering of the sequence. As National Human Genome Research Institute chief Dr. Francis Collins likes to say, paraphrasing a Winston Churchill speech, what science is approaching is simply the end of the beginning.
This piece outlines the differences inherent in pre-genome and genome era research. It goes on to look at the enormous changes, potential for discovery, ethical issues and challenges to be faced in the rich new biomedical landscape.