The sequencing of the human genome was discussed by two of its proponents in the October 20, 1986 issue of The Scientist  (pp. 11-12). Their statements were sound and true, but incomplete in that there was no discussion of the social and ethical implications of this profound technological goal, and only good was seen to come from it. In the context of today's entrepreneurial science-technology adventures, this is at best simplistic.

Science should learn from experience. That biology is treading in the footsteps of physics is not a new idea. Physics was in its golden era in the 1920s and 1930s. This period ended abruptly and unexpectedly in December 1938 with the discovery of atomic fission. This is not to imply that the heyday of molecular biology will lead to a parallel scenario, but that the sequencing of the human genome is as portentous an undertaking as the study...

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