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Genomes: A Platform for Signal Transduction Research?

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Cell signalling networks

27 March 2001

Venky Ramakrishna

Someone once said, "Information is only as good as your ability to make use of it." This was true a decade ago and is true today.

I think public access to any of the databases of the human genome is as important as defining how best to use the information. I also think this is a massive task for any single institution even if there was funding. Basically, I am against empowering any one entity to deal with the information. I am in favor of a Global Consortium or Global Network which further breaks down into individual areas- Cancer, Infectious Disease, Autoimmune Diseases, Inherited Blood Disorders etc. All affluent Governments of the world should be able to pitch in with the aid of private hi-tech industries to create the broad base for Informatics. Take Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley for example, it is doing just that.

Identifying centers of expertise is the next step. Each center will draw on its own experience and its collaborators to map out confirmed pathways of signal transduction. This will help in at least two ways- dissemination of information at light-speed and better design of therapeutics. From all of these technologies will emerge reliable and accurate diagnostics.

If you consider all the costs involved in getting information from sources that guard it very tightly we will continue to dwell in the realm of frustration. I will also make another distinction here between having a peer-review panel to validate information in place of a bunch cynical scientists who constantly spin on their own perception of scientific issues.

All of this seems a lot easier when "said" than when actually "done" but that's the way we were 10 years ago!

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