A Decade Later, Gene Map Yields Few New Cures
Ten years after President Bill Clinton announced that the first draft of the human genome was complete, medicine has yet to see any large part of the promised benefits.
For biologists, the genome has yielded one insightful surprise after another. But the primary goal of the $3 billion Human Genome Project — to ferret out the genetic roots of common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and then generate treatments — remains largely elusive. Indeed, after 10 years of effort, geneticists are almost back to square one in knowing where to look for the roots of common disease.
One sign of the genome’s limited use for medicine so far was a recent test of genetic predictions for heart disease. A medical team led by Nina P. Paynter of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston collected 101 genetic variants that had been statistically linked to heart disease in various genome-scanning studies. But the variants turned out to have no value in forecasting disease among 19,000 women who had been followed for 12 years.
The old-fashioned method of taking a family history was a better guide, Dr. Paynter reported this February in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
In announcing on June 26, 2000, that the first draft of the human genome had been achieved, Mr. Clinton said it would "revolutionize the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases."
"Genomics is a way to do science, not medicine," said Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who in July will become the director of the National Cancer Institute.
The last decade has brought a flood of discoveries of disease-causing mutations in the human genome. But with most diseases, the findings have explained only a small part of the risk of getting the disease. And many of the genetic variants linked to diseases, some scientists have begun to fear, could be statistical illusions.
You have to love that line - Genomics is a way to do science, not medicine!
In other words, it's a stupendous waste of taxpayer money.
Remember all forms of subsidized research, be they academic, medical, environmental, biotechnical or whatnot, are nothing more than WELFARE FOR NERDS - mostly Boston nerds with ideas so worthless that they could never attract private capital in furtherance of them.
The image above is of a Nazi scientist using physiognomy/phrenology to study another useless idea that wouldn't be funded by private capital....he was studying the all-important question, "Who was an Aryan?"
Note that phrenology and physiognomy, while scoffed at today, were at one time *cutting edge science*. They were the *Human Genome Project* of yesteryear!