Nature News has a Human Genome Special issue at [www_nature_com]

In this special, Nature asks whether the sequence has delivered the insights that were anticipated, and what lessons have been learned from the first post-genome decade. Human genetics in 2010 looks infinitely more complex, and questions about how to make sense of the explosion in biological data are only becoming more pressing.

Francis and Craig’s contributions have resumed it all:

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Francis Collins: Has the revolution arrived?
“Enabling the future: I propose five major lessons that could be gleaned from this first decade of the genome era, says F. Collins”

First, free and open access to genome data has had a profoundly positive effect on progress….

Second, technology development for sequencing and functional genomics — key to the success achieved thus far — must continue to be a major focus of investment by both the public and private sectors.

Third, the success of personalized medicine will depend on continued accurate identification of genetic and environmental risk factors, and the ability to utilize this information in the real world to influence health behaviours and achieve better outcomes…

Fourth, achieving the enormous promise of the myriad new drug targets emerging from genomic analysis of common and rare diseases requires new paradigms of public–private partnership…

Finally, good policy decisions will be crucial to reaping the benefits that should flow from the coming revelations about the genome. These will include protection of individual privacy, effective education of health-care providers and the public about genomic medicine, and appropriate health-care system reimbursement for the cost of validated preventive measures…

…In The Wisdom of the Sands, author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “As for the future, your task is not to foresee, but to enable it.” .

craig venter.pngJ. Craig Venter: Multiple personal genomes await

“Genomic data will soon become a commodity; the next challenge — linking human genetic variation with physiology and disease — will be as great as the one genomicists faced a decade ago, says J. Craig Venter.”

…At the current rate of technological progress, DNA sequencing is soon likely to become a commodity, and the generation of cheap, high-quality sequence data will cease to be an issue. Phenotypes — the next hurdle — present a much greater challenge than genotypes because of the complexity of human biological and clinical information. The experiments that will change medicine, revealing the relationship between human genetic variation and biological outcomes such as physiology and disease, will require the complete genomes of tens of thousands of humans together with comprehensive digitized phenotype data…

Photos credits, Phil Bolsta and Christopher Pledger.