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The Common Thread And The Human Genome Project

1815 words - 8 pages

From the moment we are born we are overwhelmed by the sensation of exploring the world around us. Not just only what we see but also, what lies beneath the surface. This sensation of curiosity is especially clear in people who are studying and/or conducting research in the fields of medicine, health, and biomedical science. In this review I intend to grasp the attention of everyone who has a relationship to the three fields of research mentioned before. Students and researchers in these fields should be able to relate to the concepts that will be discussed in this review. I believe that this review would provide necessary insight on making the choice of reading a truly wonderful ...view middle of the document...

Celera’s aim was to discover all fragments and pieces of the human genome and patented these findings for commercial use and profit. This would entail that scientists and researchers would forever had to pay for the use, mention and research of such genetic data. This story takes a tone very similar to that of a story of the ‘bad guys’ (Celera genomics) versus the ‘good guys’ of the Cambridge Laboratory of Molecular Biology. The book delivers a very clear overall, and somewhat personal message which translates to that no matter what obstacles are pitted against researchers and science, the work that is done should always benefit mankind and not benefit only certain individuals, who in this book, are described as profit driven tycoons. “I pointed out that our problem was that Celera not only collected their own data, but would ‘hoover up all of our”, which of course was publicly available, call it their own, and charge others for using it. Sulston even realized that the best way to prevent human genome sequences being hogged by private parties was to place it into the public domain. People realized in the end that such valuable information must remain free to access to all of us. A week later after Sulston made this statement, two of the most powerful and influential individuals in the world made a unanimous statement on this controversy. “A week later Bill Clinton and Tony Blair made a joint statement saying the human genome sequence should be freely available to all researchers”.

The category of this scientific journey
Firstly, by being an autobiography, this book depicts science and research in a very different tone compared to other publications in the same category. Sulston maintains the air of science and research alive by constantly describing very precise processes, and all the while keeps the reader nailed in his shoes with his personal views and comments on certain events that occurred throughout the timeline. It is worth noting that despite involving many researchers, scientific facilities and contributors from across the globe, Sulston contributed and led the project almost gracefully, showing a well forged trait at cooperating with others. Being a forerunner of the Human Genome Project I find it difficult to imagine another source of the topic producing a publication that holds the same caliber and standards. This makes The Common Thread fall in a completely unique category of what I like to call ‘autobiographical research & science’.

The true meaning of the common thread for John Sulston
The first half of the book is depicted more as a personal autobiography of John Sulston, especially after his career took off in 1969. John goes into some in depth detail discussing personal matters, sometimes even albeit in too much detail. Because of this, I often pondered the usefulness of this overabundance of information while reading the first couple of chapters. I find that John Sulston uses a unique blend of autobiographical writing, all...

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