Nicholas Wade on Writing About the HGP
  Nicholas Wade     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

No, [I have] not [been covering the HGP] since its inception because I guess in 1990 when it started I was science editor. So I wasn’t writing. And in retrospect we should have written many more articles about it than we did. But I didn’t realize its importance and it’s hard when you’re editor and not connecting to what’s going on to judge these things.

And the reporter who was meant to be covering it, I think that put too much emphasis on the beliefs of the many scientists who at that time opposed the genome project because it was rightly opposed at its beginning. And so for that reason we had very few articles on the genome project until I went back to writing in I think about ’97 [or] ’98, and I realized how important it was and started writing articles about it.

Not such covered by the New York Times. We gave it very little attention. And I think that was error on our part. So essentially we missed all the mapping projects. And I guess we sort of tuned in when they first started large scale sequencing. So we were there for the final lap of the race. But we—I think we missed out on the first few laps. And on the struggles in which Jim Watson persuaded his colleagues [that] they were wrong to oppose this project and should go ahead under his leadership.

Nicholas Wade received a B.A. in natural sciences from King's College in Cambridge (1964). He was deputy editor of (italics) Nature magazine in London and then became that journal's Washington correspondent. He joined (italics) Science magazine in Washington as a reporter and later moved to (italics)The New York Times, where he has been an editorial writer, concentrating his writing on issues of defense, space, science, medicine, technology, genetics, molecular biology, the environment, and public policy, a science reporter, and science editor. He is the author or coauthor of several books including (italics) LIFE SCRIPT: How The Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine And Enhance Your Health (2002).

Covering the Human Genome Project for the (italics) New York Times since 1990, Wade has interviewed Watson on various occasions and visited Cold Spring Harbor for the annual Genome symposium.