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The Eric Green Lecture

Rohit S Sannamani



In a hallowed hall of IISc, Dr. Eric Green (perhaps a tad overdressed for the warm winter of Bangalore) kick-started a series of lectures on the "Frontiers of Science" organised by the Indian Academy of Sciences. Over the course of an hour, he shed light on both the history, and the future impact of genomics on society, in a non-technical and easy-flowing manner. Dr. Green's enthusiasm would have surely infected every receptive member in the audience. 

Indeed, it is hard not to be inspired when a professional who has been  part of Genomics since the word was first coined, displays the excitement that only novelty can effect. Upon the completion of the first ever Human Genome Sequence in 2003 (which he was a part of), Dr. Green and his colleagues immediately set out a vision for where they saw the field heading in the coming years [1]. It included, among other things, the hope that the cost of sequencing would be reduced from 1 billion dollars to a thousand.  A few years after they had published the second roadmap paper for the decade following 2010, that hope had become a reality [2]! There was a time when the National Human Genomics Research Institute (NHGRI) - which Dr Green heads - spoke for the entire field of Genomics (what with 90% of the money in the field sourced by them). But today, thanks to investment from both private and public players, their share is 10%. An indication perhaps of the huge role the technologies in the field will soon have… Dr.Green and his colleagues are about to publish another roadmap for the new decade. There will be a draft manuscript coming out in April 2020, and after feedback, a final vision will be published in October 2020. This will be a decade in which genomics is sure to chart the course "from base pairs to the bedside" (which was the vision charted in the second paper by Green et al.) in a significant manner, unless of course the human race self-destructs :}). [1] https://www.nature.com/articles/nature01626 [2]https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09764

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