Genomics Should Be Understood and Guided by the Arts
Louise Blouin Foundation - The Metropolitan Club
Since the mapping of the human genome in 2003, great anticipation was created both in the minds of the public, as well as within the medical community in respect to the creation of new treatments for disease - if not the eradication of disease altogether - based upon the newfound knowledge of the 'blueprint' of life. Although this anticipation has not yet been fulfilled, a number of research endeavors inside and outside of academia have begun to yield results: namely, those research projects connected to the treatment of disease and, surprisingly, within the context of the development of alternative fuels, fibers and plastics. For instance, in August 2012, Nature published findings by deCODE Genetics of Iceland that provides insight into the genetic underpinnings of autism and schizophrenia, resulting from a genetic mutation linked to the age of the father. Furthermore, in respect to heavy industry, chemical companies, such as DuPont, have come to rely on "naturally occurring sugars from crops" to underpin the industrial chemicals used in the creation of fabrics, carpet and other such products. With these examples in mind, this panel will ask: (a.) has synthetic biology finally found a footing as a mature science that can yield the dramatic discoveries promised to alter humanity? and (b.) if so, what are those new discoveries and how far away are we from cures to our most pressing health needs?