|HOMEPAGE | Contact Information
We discuss the bioinformatic challenges in creating and using the current public working draft of the human genome, and look at what lies ahead as the genome is finished and comparisons with other vertebrate genomes are made. Working with Francis Collins and the major public sequencing centers, an international group led by Eric Lander and John Sulston has produced the initial working draft of the genome (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genome/central/). Jim Kent at UCSC and David Kulp at Neomorphic, Inc., among many others, made substantial contributions to this effort (http://genome.ucsc.edu/). We look at the current state of this draft genome, discussing assembly and genefinding methods, and methods for mapping sequences from other vertebrates onto the human genome. It is our hope that this work will soon lead to a significantly better understanding the functional organization of our genome.
The Information Age is NOT the Future, the Information Age is the present. There is something else in the future. As a place holder, the name BioIntelligence Age is suggested. The Information Age is already a century old and the biotechnology revolution is over 40-50 years old. The future will belong to the interdisciplinary sciences that are emerging at the interface of traditional sciences. Thus, nanotechnology (physical and information sciences), embedded biosensors (biologic and physical sciences) and rational drug design (biologic and information sciences) are paving the way. The most complex of the new technologies will incorporate all three sciences - biologic, physical and information. An example is tissue engineering which is beginning to grow synthetic organs. Thus the future belongs to the interdisciplinary team of researchers, the hallmark of the BioIntelligence Age. They will create a world that is populated by transparent, microscopic, ubiquitous sensors that are networked together to change our current dumb and unconnected world into a smart and networked one.
Even as we struggle to understand these revolutionary changes, there are words of caution from respected scientists. By 2030 or 2040, computers will have the same computational power of a human brain, but will such systems be intelligent, have emotions or even be controllable by humans? As Bill Joy suggests in "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us", genetics, nanotechnology and robotics will become self assembling and self maintaining - thus they may not need the human species which created them. Scientists must proactively consider the consequences of their progress before entering into a Faustian bargain. The future is bright, but we must enter the BioIntelligence Age with our eyes wide open.