Robert Waterston on Is-Understanding-Human-Chemistry-Unnatural
  Robert Waterston     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jun 2003

That is the wonder of the world though. I mean you don’t have to—you don’t have to not understand it to be awed by it. I mean it’s just amazing to—and, you know, I talk a little bit about this at the press conference when it was announced. It’s just to—you know we don’t begin to understand what’s going on but to have the sense that we have in front of us now. The complete information is just astounding that this—these three building bases most of which are not used for anything so now we’re down to three hundred million or a hundred and fifty million. That these contain all the information that it takes to make something as complex as a person is just astounding. It is an amazing thing. We don’t have to lose our wonder jut because we try to understand it.

Robert Waterston received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Princeton University (1965) and both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago (1972). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, he joined the Washington University faculty in 1976 where he is the James S. McDonnel Professor of Genetics, head of the Department of Genetics, and director of the School of Medicine’s Genome Sequencing Center, which he founded in 1993. In early 2003 Dr Waterston took on the role of Chair of the department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, was a recipient of the International Gairdner Award, the Genetics Society of America’s Beadle Award, the Dan David Prize, and the Alfred P. Sloan Award from the GM Cancer Research Foundation.

Waterston attended the worm meetings at Cold Spring Harbor Lab and in 1989 Watson supported Waterston’s proposal to use the worm as a model organism in the Human Genome Project.