Richard Myers on Human Genome Project: Early Controversies
  Richard Myers     Biography    
Recorded: 29 May 2003

So when Luca Cavalli-Sforza and others started this project in the early ‘90s it was very controversial. I think they, people weren’t ready for it yet. I think he may not have explained well enough to some of the people who he worked with. I think what ended up happening is that he recruited Hank Greeley, who is a law professor and also a professor in genetics at Stanford in my department, to really work on the Informed Consent and the privacy issues with them. And so all the individuals were consented, things were taken care of and I think were much, much better. I do think that, I think it is good that people are paying attention to this. And really the best way to do this is to engage the community. To make them be part of the project, rather than just coming in and taking samples from them. And it really has been the new approaches that are being taken. The HapMap Project did a really good job of that as well. So I think it’s important that these are taken care of. I don’t think anything nefarious was done, but I think that by going back and consenting it really helped to make it okay.

Richard Myers, biochemist and geneticist, is currently Director of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.

Following his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Alabama (B.S., 1977), Dr. Myers earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley (1982) with Robert Tjian. His postdoctoral work was performed at Harvard University with Tom Maniatis. In 1986 he joined the faculty of the University of California at San Francisco, and remained there until 1993 when he moved to Stanford University School of Medicine. He had been Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics and Director of the Stanford Human Genome Center until July 2008 when he was named to his current position.

Dr. Myers is a member of numerous committees concerned with human genetic diseases and the Human Genome Project including the Genome Resources and Sequencing Prioritization Panel (GRASPP) and is Chair of the Genome Research Review Committee of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. He is also a member of the Biology and Biotechnology Program Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Myers has received numerous awards including the Pritzker Foundation Award (2002), the Darden Lecture Award from the University of Alabama (2002), the Wills Foundation Award (1986-2001) and was a Searle Scholar (1987-1990).

Myers was involved in every human genome meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and has attended CSHL symposia since 1986.