The Human Genome and the Evolution of Man
We are missing the true value of the sequencing of the human genome. Consider this. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells. Each cell is different and performs different functions because the DNA in each is only a copy of the DNA of the body. There are six billion of us on the earth. Each of us is different and performs different functions because the DNA in our bodies is only a copy of the genome that defines our species.
It is here that the true value of genome sequencing can be found. Just as flaws in our genes can cause diseases in our bodies that the immune system is unable to combat, so flaws in the genes of our species have resulted in major challenges, like war and violence, that the species is unable to combat. The genome project reveals that the human species is more like a cancer-ridden patient in need of a cure than an inefficient machine or organization that is in need of improvement.
It is wonderful to know what my propensities for disease are but that does not help my neighbor. It is interesting that the call to sequence the genome that gave it a public face was made in the context of cancer research. Cancer is a disease that the immune system cannot combat because it is caused by the body, under instructions from the DNA. Renato Dulbecco discovered that cancer cannot be combatted one tumor at a time. The only way to combat cancer without the contemporary destructive treatments is through gene therapy, as soon as we can develop that technology. On the opposite end, each outbreak of war and violence is a cancerous tumor in the human species. This cancer cannot be combatted one outbreak at a time. The only way to combat the divisions that lead to war and violence is through global gene therapy, as soon as we get the boldness to seek that technology.