Monday, June 04, 2007

a step closer to gattaca?

The first person to receive a map of his very own genome was James Watson, of the famous duo Watson and Crick. For those of you who haven't had a biology or genetics course lately, and forget or just don't know, these two men are considered the first to have discovered the structure of DNA. They don't get all the credit- I won't go into it, but basically Watson and Crick made their conclusions from the various works done by other scientists. Still, they officially get credit for recognizing that DNA was a double helix and for introducing the very idea of DNA replication. Anyway, I think it's pretty cool that Watson was chosen as the first person to have this done. (In case you were wondering, Watson's partner Francis Crick has been deceased for over two years.)

It's kind of amazing that, within his lifetime, genetics has moved from DNA having no known structure and no real explanation for how it worked... to being able to tell Watson of his increased likelihood for certain cancers based on his genetic code.

Sure, there could be potential drawbacks to society's pinpointing of 'good' and 'bad' genes, but it's still an impressive amount of growth in just barely over fifty years, and I thought Watson was a classy choice to be 'first.'

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