The Common Thread

The Common Thread

A Story of Science, Politics, Ethics, and the Human Genome

Book - 2002
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The world was agog when scientists made the astounding announcement that they had successfully sequenced the human genome. Few contributed so directly to this feat as John Sulston. This is his personal account of one of the largest international scientific operations ever undertaken.

It was a momentous occasion when British scientist John Sulston embarked on the greatest scientific endeavor of our times: the sequencing of the Human Genome. In The Common Thread, Sulston takes us behind the scenes for an in-depth look at the controversial story behind the headlines. The accomplishments and the setbacksa "along with the politics, personalities, and ethicsa "that shaped the research are frankly explored by a central figure key to the project.

From the beginning, Sulston fervently proclaimed his belief in the free and open exchange of the scientific information that would emerge from the project. Guided by these principles, The Human Genome Project was structured so that all the findings were public, encouraging an unparalleled international collaboration among scientists and researchers.

Then, in May 1998, Craig Venter announced that he was quitting the Human Genome Projecta "with plans to head up a commercial venture launched to bring out the complete sequence three years hence, but marketed in a proprietary database. Ventera (TM)s intentions, clearly anathema to Sulston and the global network of scientists working on the Project, marked the beginning of a dramatic struggle to keep the human genome in the public domain.

More than the story of human health versus corporate wealth, this is an exploration of the very nature of a scientific quest for discovery. Infused with Sulstona (TM)s own enthusiasm and excitement, the tale unfolds to reveal the scientists who painstakingly turn the key that will unlock the riddle of the human genome. We are privy to the joy and exuberance of success as well as the stark disappointments posed by inevitable failures. It is truly a wild and wonderful ride.

The Common Thread is at once a compelling history and an impassioned call for ethical responsibility in scientific research. As the boundaries between science and big business increasingly blur, and researchers race to patent medical discoveries, the international community needs to find a common protocol for the protection of the wider human interest. This extraordinary enterprise is a glimpse of our shared human heritage, offering hope for future research and a fresh outlook on our understanding of ourselves.

Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Joseph Henry Press, c2002
ISBN: 9780309084093
Branch Call Number: 611.01816 SUL
Characteristics: x, 310 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Ferry, Georgina


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Sep 09, 2012

This book presents the story of the discovery of the human genome, through the eyes of a man who earned a Nobel Prize for his contributions. The story is both educational and gripping.

Readers are able to share the private insights of a fascinating man, on topics ranging from the monotony of some of the most successful methods, to the potential of the private sector to corrode scientific sharing of information.

Highly recommended.

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