The Genome Project Holds Promise, But We Must Look Before We Leap

To an ever-increasing degree, explanation in biology is reduced to art expression in the language of DNA sequences. At least, a necessary condition for the interpretation of many problems in evolution, genetics, virology, immunology teratology, or cancer is the elucidation of a message in the well-known ATGC alphabet. Furthermore, the power of biotechnology rests on manufacturing blueprints of the same ilk. To a degree " unprecedented in biological history, we can describe the agenda for much

Joshua Lederberg
Mar 19, 1989

To an ever-increasing degree, explanation in biology is reduced to art expression in the language of DNA sequences. At least, a necessary condition for the interpretation of many problems in evolution, genetics, virology, immunology teratology, or cancer is the elucidation of a message in the well-known ATGC alphabet. Furthermore, the power of biotechnology rests on manufacturing blueprints of the same ilk. To a degree " unprecedented in biological history, we can describe the agenda for much of the programmable research for several decades to come. It is undeniable that a full catalog of a human DNA sequence would be a great convenience in the solution of problems pertaining to particular segments. There isthen great merit in the prospect, and I would share the excitement of achievement in a host of steps toward that goal. In particular, we should certainly encourage investigators who seek to apply individual intelligence to that end....

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