The festival’s second Thomson Reuters Knowledge Exchange event was titled “Cracking the Genetic Code,” and featured an excellent panel. Moderated by Chris Kibarian, president of our IP & Science business, the panel included Harvard professor John Quackenbush, Brian Fiske of the The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and Paul Rejto from Pfizer. The three panelists each brought a unique perspective to the discussion, and their varied expertise helped to turn complicated subject matter into something very easy to understand and enjoy.
The conversation started and revolved around the human genome, and the project to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA, as well as identifying the function of human genes. Professor Quackenbush almost poetically explained complicated scientific information so that it was easily comprehensible. He talked about the roadmap of the human genome and the new technologies that have contributed to the decreasing costs of identifying genes. He talked about a time in the very near future where the cost would become so low that we’d be able to generate huge amounts of data in an economically responsible manner. This data would then contribute to a better understanding about genetic factors contributing to risk of developing diseases and being able to develop more personalized care for serious illnesses. (more…)