10 years on, Human Genome Project pretty much a bust?

Seems there really haven't been many practical applications of the knowledge, even a decade after completion.

SPIEGEL:??So the significance of the genome isn???t so great after all?

Venter:??Not at all. I can tell you from my own experience. I put my own genome on the Internet. . . . And what . . . have I learned from my genome? Very little. We couldn???t even be certain from my genome what my eye color was. Isn???t that sad? Everyone was looking for miracle ???yes/no??? answers in the genome. ???Yes, you???ll have cancer.??? Or ???No, you won???t have cancer.??? But that???s just not the way it is.

SPIEGEL:??So the Human Genome Project has had very little medical benefits so far?

Venter:??Close to zero to put it precisely. . . . [W]e have, in truth, learned nothing from the genome other than probabilities. How does a 1 or 3 percent increased risk for something translate into the clinic? It is useless information. . . . [For there to be practical medical applications] we need a lot more information: Information about your body???s chemistry, your physiology, your complete medical history, your brain and your entire life. We would need to do that a million times on different people and correlate that data with their genetic information.

I remember this being a Very Big Thing, then pretty much falling off the cultural map. It evidently wasn't just because of media whims. There just isn't anything to it, at least not yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s