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Tuesday, October 17, 2000

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find related articles. powered by google. The Scientist N.Y. Panel Explores Genomics Issues
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"What can people expect from biotechnology and genomics? Ten luminaries from the biomedical arena, law, and journalism grappled with issues related to that question at the City University of New York's Graduate Center on Sept. 20. In attendance was an audience of 350 whose research, medical, and counseling careers could hinge on how such issues are resolved. Syracuse University's Gene Media Forum ( sponsored the event.

The recurring theme was biological predictability. Eric Lander, director of the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research, in Cambridge, Mass., noted that in the past century, biologists "worked out a disease by being clever enough to figure out what was wrong." The systematic approach of genomics, he continued, would render research largely predictable.

Panelists stressed, nevertheless, that genomics would not yield answers easily. Harold Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said that biologists were used to studying one gene at a time. Now, he added, "you've got all the parts of the clock dumped on the table, and you can look at them. But, you know, it's a lot harder to put back together, too."

A consensus emerged that much of the public--including many journalists, behavioral scientists, and physicians--either were unaware of this newfound complexity or twisted it into misguided support for genetic determinism. "

redux [06.26.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Wired News Human Genome: Because They Could
""How it's going to help me develop drugs or do anything, I really don't have a clue," said Craig Rosen, executive vice president for research and development at Human Genome Sciences."

""It's like being given the best book in the world, but it's in Russian, and it's incredibly boring to read," said Ewan Birney, a team leader at the European Bioinformatics Research Institute, part of the Sanger Centre, one of the major labs working on the Human Genome Project."

redux [07.11.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Biospace.Com Big Picture Biology
"For most of us, formal biology education begins with complex systems--the traditional dissection of a frog in high school biology class is virtually a rite of passage in the U.S.

But the way many people learn about and invest in biotechnology is at the smallest end of the spectrum--the genome, now often described as the "periodic table" of biology. Genomics and all its related buzzwords have been responsible for much of the media attention, government grants, and investment capital heaped on the biotech industry over the past decade.

But just as there is a whole lot of chemistry that happens in between the periodic table and a birthday cake, there is a lot of biology in between the genome and a living organism. With the completion of biology's periodic table within sight, academics and industry players alike are pondering the best way to apply our hard won knowledge.

The only problem is, the path from genome to system seems to get harder the more we learn."

[ 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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