Nicholas Wade on Jim Watson and the Human Genome Project: Visionary Wisdom
  Nicholas Wade     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

I think Jim has once again proved wiser than many of his colleagues in that he is very persuaded that lots of good will come out of the genome and that we can use our knowledge to make people's lives better. He's all in favor of what's called germline genetic engineering - of identifying good genes, putting them into human eggs, and making sure people grow up endowed from birth with healthy genes. And the wisdom of that is that our genes after all at present are a terrible lottery. We all inherit from our parents many bad genes along with the good. It would be much better, at least in principle, if some of those genes, the ones that we know directly cause disease, could be eliminated. The major source of unfairness in the world is not the distribution of wealth, it's the unfair distribution of genes, I would think. So if we have this wonderful genetic program in our hands why not make use of it and try and equip everyone with good genes. Obvious as it may seem, Jim’s is about the only voice you will hear at present saying this is the way we should go.

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.