Biology’s new world

DNA sequencing and genome-mapping have moved biology into a new world where researchers try to keep pace with the explosion of information and ideas, Nobel laureate Walter Gilbert, Ph.D., told a standing-room-only audience of graduate students, postdocs and researchers in May.

“By the time you start graduate school,” he said, “there is only 10 percent of the information about DNA that will be known by the time you get your Ph.D. A few years ago it was possible to get a thesis by cloning a gene. Today it is impossible. You have to do something more.”

Gilbert, a microbiologist at Harvard who invented DNA sequencing, delivered the seventh annual Edward A. Adelberg Lecture in Genetics. He shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Frederick Sanger for their work in determining base sequences in nucleic acids.