This one is a treat. An opportunity to blog about my ideas on science! It seems that most of my efforts these days are focused on BiOS, patent transparency and innovation strategies. Science is still an important part of my life, but my dismay at the way it has been co-opted and made less relevant to society has left a bitter taste.
Still, there are new fields that are breathtaking in their implications (to me at least) and which do not lend themselves to being ‘owned’, but – at least at this stage in their development – rather shared.
The single most exciting development in the biological sciences to occur in my lifetime is the idea that microbes are not only ubiquitous but that they may be the most important component that drives the evolution of macro-organisms.
In fact, I’d venture to say that multicellular eukaryotes only exist in nature as complexes of organisms in which microbial genomes are critical, essential contributors to the fitness of the overall ‘individual’ (which itself needs redefining).
Back in September of 1994 I gave an invited presentation at a Symposium at Cold Spring Harbor sponsored by Perkin Elmer Corporation: “A Decade of PCR“. The symposium was only a couple of days, was a celebration of the impact and future of PCR on life sciences, and featured Jim Watson, Kary Mullis, and a number of other prominent speakers. I was given the task of talking about Agriculture, Environment and the Third World. Rather dauntingly broad marching orders. But I decided that I’d try something fun out on the audience, which was a pretty substantial group of scientists.