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Wednesday, July 05, 2000

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The New York Times The Next Chapter in the Book of Life: Structural Genomics
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"Now that scientists have effectively determined the complete sequence of human DNA, research teams are gearing up for a follow-on project that many say will be every bit as ambitious and difficult -- but also full of promise for medical research.

The new endeavor focuses on proteins, which are the substances made by the body in response to instructions provided by the genes. It is actually the proteins that form the body and carry out its functions, so they are in some sense of more direct relevance to medicine than the genes themselves.

""It's basically the next step after the Human Genome Project," said Dr. Helen M. Berman, a professor of chemistry at Rutgers University and director of the Protein Data Bank, a federally financed database of protein structures. "Instead of a list of letters, we'll understand biology in a three-dimensional way."
MIT Technology Review The Next Wave of the Genomics Business
"Jay Knowles is enjoying himself. The biotech executive sits in his San Diego office, where he directs business operations for Structural GenomiX (SGX). SGX, a startup company, has raised nearly $40 million in venture capital since its founding a year ago and is now turning away investors. “Being the next wave of the genomics business, everyone’s flocking to give us as much money as they possibly can,” Knowles boasts. And, he adds, several large pharmaceutical firms are eager to buy SGX’s product: three-dimensional protein structures, those intricate models with loops and whorls that lend a touch of the fanciful to the pages of scientific journals like Science and Nature. “We have lots of deals on the table,” says Knowles.

Suddenly, Knowles’ boss, president Tim Harris, bursts into the room. “Vertex has just cut a structural genomics deal with Incyte,” he says. “Bastards. This is war.”

[ 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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