Michael Ashburner on Jim Watson, Writer
  Michael Ashburner     Biography    
Recorded: 31 May 2003

Well, his first book was fantastic. Well, the only other popular book of his that I’ve read—and I’m not talking about Molecular Biology of the Gene which is, you know, kind of a technical textbook and was co-written by a number of people. The only other popular book I’ve read is the Genes, Girls and Gamow. Which is the only reason that I got to the end of that because I thought (a) it was badly written and (b) it was actually frankly embarrassing at times. The only reason I got to the end of that is that I knew George Gamow in 1964, 1965. He was my neighbor for a year in Cambridge. So the bits about Gamow were great, but the rest of it I found a bit difficult.

Michael Ashburner, a leader in Drosophila Genetics and bioinformatics, received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College.

He has been the joint head of European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and was co-founder of Flybase, the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the Gene Ontology Consortium, an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster.

Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).

Michael Ashburner