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{bio,medical} informatics

Wednesday, July 05, 2000

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"On its surface, the genome story seems designed to illustrate one of the oldest of all American homilies: the virtues of extreme decentralization. An entrepreneur here is free to go into business for him or herself, over the objections of the chain of command, even in competition with the government.

In fact, the story points to a deeper moral, in an opposite direction. Last week's which Venter appeared at center stage with arch-rival Francis Collins of the NIH's Human Genome Research Institute, didn't just happen. There had to be some cooperation and knuckling-under.

The White House gala was brokered by the elders of the scientific establishment. The lever presumably was a piece of a Nobel Prize. The intense behind-the-scenes diplomatic effort ended with the benediction pronounced last week by President Clinton:

""When we get all this worked out and we are all living to be 150--young people will still fall in love, old people will still fight about things that should have been resolved 50 years ago--we will all, on occasion, do stupid things, and we will all see the unbelievable capacity of humanity to be noble. This is a great day."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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