IN OTHER WORDS
Just the start:
When scientists talk about sequencing the human genome, they have been talking so far about creating a composite picture drawn from the gene sequences of many people. That has now changed for good. Recently, the Human Genome Sequencing Centre at the Baylor College of Medicine, US, gave James D Watson — who with Francis Crick discovered the structure of the DNA molecule — two DVDs that contained the complete sequence of Watson’s DNA. Baylor is now mapping the gene sequence of another pioneer, J Craig Venter, the founder of a private project to sequence human genome. So the time when anyone can contract to have his or her DNA sequenced can’t be far off. That brings into focus some important questions.
Understanding the human genome is a daunting problem. But even more daunting is understanding how much of what we become is driven by our genetic makeup and how much by the environment we live in and the choices we make. The possibility of individual genomic sequencing inevitably raises feelings of hope and fear. For now, the most appropriate response is patience. There is no disputing the information contained in your genomic
sequence. But what really matters is the quality of the information we have about that genetic information. That story is just beginning.