Genomics and the Future of Medicine

Molecular understanding of disease has transformed the pharmaceutical industry. In the future, one can anticipate an increasing number of new drugs whose derivation depended upon a precise genomic understanding of disease. National Human Genome Research Director Dr. Francis Collins explains how genomics could play a role in medicine by improving public health


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With Collins at the helm, the HGP has attained several milestones, while running ahead of schedule and under budget. A working draft of the human genome was announced in June 2000, and Collins was joined by US President Bill Clinton and rival biologist Craig Venter in making the announcement. Venter and Collins thus shared the "Biography of the Year" title from A&E Network. An initial analysis was published in February 2001. HGP scientists continued to work toward finishing the sequence of all three billion base pairs by 2003, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Watson and Crick's seminal publication of the structure of DNA. In 2005 Collins and Venter were also honored as two of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report and the Harvard Center for Public Leadership Collins's commitment to free, rapid access to genomic information helped to make all data immediately available to the worldwide scientific community.

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