X-Message-Number: 28669
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: One cheer for Francis Collins!
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 14:34:35 -0800

Francis Collins, effective genomic scientist (but embarrassingly bad 
christian apologist, though not in the Intelligent Design camp), writes in 
favor of radical life extension in a recent issue of New Scientist:


Francis Collins forecasts the future
18 November 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Francis Collins

Fifty years from now, if I avoid crashing my motorcycle in the interim, I 
will be 106. If the advances that I envision from the genome revolution are 
achieved in that time span, millions of my comrades in the baby boom 
generation will have joined Generation C to become healthy centenarians 
enjoying active lives.

How do we get from here to there? For starters, we must develop technologies 
that can sequence an individual's genome for $1000 or less. This will enable 
healthcare providers to identify the dozens of glitches that we each have in 
our DNA that predispose us to certain diseases. In addition, we need to 
unravel the complex interactions among genetic and environmental risk 
factors, and to determine what interventions can reduce those risks. With 
such information in hand, new treatments will be developed, and our 
"one-size-fits-all" approach to healthcare will give way to more powerful, 
individualised strategies for predicting and treating diseases - and, 
eventually, preventing them.

The challenge doesn't stop there. We are already setting our sights on the 
ultimate nemesis of Generation C: ageing. Genomic research will prove key to 
discovering how to reprogram the mechanisms that control the balance between 
the cell growth that causes cancer and the cell death that leads to ageing. 
It is possible that a half-century from now, the most urgent question facing 
our society will not be "How long can humans live?" but "How long do we want 
to live?"

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