David Botstein on CSHL Symposia
  David Botstein     Biography    
Recorded: 28 May 2003

Currently, you know, if I were the director of Cold Spring Harbor I would be thinking hard about the question of exactly what’s involved. The big red book doesn’t have the impact that it once had. I’m going to show tonight a slide out of the 1963 volume. In that paper which I think is the first real paper in genomics, Epstein, et al. That paper was avidly read. It is a citation classic, one of a half a dozen from the red books. But they’re all in the interval 1950-1975. And after that I think everybody who publishes has to think differently about what they’re publishing. I find that for example the abstract book for this meeting to be very, very detailed and technical. Big picture issues are not being addressed. And it has to do with the nature of genomics right now. Everyone’s obsessed with the sequence. That’s appropriate. So I think that it probably is worthwhile reexamining why you have this meeting and why this meeting and things of that sort. But certainly historically it’s the history of 20th century biology, it’s probably the most important single set of meetings that there was in the 20th century.

David Botstein is a prominent geneticist whose advocacy for gene mapping was crucial in laying the groundwork for the Human Genome Project. Botstein received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan for his research on bacteriophage synthesis. As a member of the MIT faculty he continued working with phage P22 DNA and discovered many bacterial and yeast genes. He served as Vice President of Science at Genentech before becoming professor at the Stanford School of Medicine where he led in sequencing the first large eucaryotic genome.

On July 1, 2003 he was appointed as Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. At Princeton he will continue to expound upon genome projects, explore the relationship between genes within the genome, and uncover how diseases like cancer alter the expression of genes.

Botstein researched at the CSHL while on sabbatical from 1974-1975. At the 1986 CSHL symposium on Human Genetics he played a crucial role in advocating for the Human Genome Project. While serving on the National Research Council Committee he emphasized that money be laid aside to fund the sequencing of other simpler organisms with which the human genome can be compared. Like Jim Watson, he has passionately supported the Human Genome Project since its inception.