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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  October 2004

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE October 2004

Subject:

MannGram®: endless drafts

From:

Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 21 Oct 2004 09:24:56 +1200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

        MannGram®: endless drafts
                Oct 2004

        The modest announcement below from _Nature_ recalls when J Celera
Venter posed at the Presidential podium with Pres. Clinton smiling up
admiringly at him.   Simultaneously Tony Blair gushed inanely, and very
ignorantly, about the 'landmark breakthru' represented by the announcement
of what turned out to be a partial draft of "the" human genome.
        A couple y later, an 'improved draft' was announced.
        Now the claim is still only that "the" sequencing has been
"largely" done.
        If you're getting a picture of endless drafts, that's a reasonable
reaction.

        By now you should be wondering to whom it matters whether the
plurry thang is "done".  What is the good of it?
        And meanwhile of course single-base differences (SNPs) are
assiduously detected in the hope of correcting those that are thought to
cause illness  -  many hundreds of them in just one gene (to do with cystic
fibrosis).
        By now, indeed, everybody should be wondering what good "the" human
genome can be, if ever determined (which it cannot be, owing to faulty
logic in its defn, as I've just hinted).  Supposing there were such a thing
as the correct DNA sequence for some Adonis or Venus (reminding ourselves
here that there must be *at least* two different human genomes).  The idea
that some difference in the 3 x 10^9 base-pairs accounts for each human
difference e.g illness is grossly exaggerated.  Gene therapy has an
unimpressive history (to put it kindly).

        The whole approach should be admitted as mistaken.
Genes
*  are far harder to identify than had been hoped  -  there are several
respectable defns of 'gene'
*  act in ways we are only just beginning to understand
*  have far less in illness than was hoped by the modern genetic determinsim
*  offer far less scope for medical practice than insinuated by the
'genome' fad.

R

----------------

         FEATURE OF THE WEEK

Human genome: End of the beginning

Just over three years ago, it was announced that a first draft of
the human genome sequence had been completed. In this free News and
Views article, Lincoln Stein describes how gaps and errors remained,
but the job of fixing those problems is now largely done.
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/eQof0BhdwI0Ch0ULe0AG

Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN GENOME SEQUENCING CONSORTIUM
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/eQof0BhdwI0Ch0ULf0AH

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