But it also offers an opportunity to look ahead at some of what the future may hold. The Precision Medicine Initiative hopes to enlist more than a million people to participate in genetic research that will lead to new and better treatments for disease.
In the week leading up to this year’s DNA Day The National Institutes of Health hosted a provocative discussion on Reddit’s science forum called “Ask Me Anything.” Some of the most prominent geneticists in the United States were asked about everything from gene editing, to genetic discrimination, and cancer genetics. Even that short list of questions highlights both the breadth of impact of the science and the pace of new discovery in genetics.
In one exchange about how quickly the science has advanced, George Church, the esteemed professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, compared the breakthroughs in genetics to the dizzying changes we have seen since the creation of personal computers and the Internet.
“We had exponential growth in PCs and (the) Web, with too few expert professionals to counsel each new user, but the market responded with a variety of creative solutions,” Church said. “Genetics is poised to be even faster and bigger.”
Or to coin a phrase, “To Infinity and Beyond.” Happy DNA Day.