With one caveat: he will not have his genome sequenced and release it until after the top 20 infectious diseases have been cured.
On Wednesday, 4/23, the University of Washington Department of Genome Sciences kicked of their 2008 Symposium with a Special Panel Discussion: The Personal Genome: Consequences for Society.
Gates joined Dr. George Church, Dr. Eric Lander and Dr. Leena Peltonen on the panel. After a 15 minute introduction by Dr. Lander the panel, moderated by Dr. Maynard Olson, answered questions from the audience, local and online, for the next 90 minutes. For example:
- The personal genome is likely to benefit only those in developed countries. How will it assist undeveloped countries?
- Does all this knowledge of genetic variations risk a world of designer babies?
- Given the influence of environment over our health doesn’t the public over emphasize the power of genes?
Some important points:
- Even though dramatic advances are being made at an accelerating pace genomicists are still just scratching the surface,
- 2) there are significant privacy issues to be worked out,
- there is a high risk of misuse and abuse of genomic information and
- public education on genomicsand collaboration with the public on the above and related issues will be critical.
You can stream a video of this Panel Discussion. Dr. Lander’s introduction is worth the price of admission and Gates’ commitment is near the end of the program.