Open Source Biology Deserves a Shot
Gene sequencing has gotten incredibly fast and cheap, and researchers around the world are pouring huge volumes of genomic data onto their private servers, in the hope they will sift through it all to make groundbreaking discoveries. Should so much genomic data be so closely guarded, or should it be poured into a free and open database that all scientists share?
The idea sounds utopian in a high-risk, high-reward industry that protects intellectual property like Fort Knox. But no one disagrees that today’s approach to drug development takes too long, costs too much, and is too unpredictable.
Stephen Friend thinks shared data would change all of that—and allow researchers to see patterns they wouldn’t otherwise see, and make insights that would never emerge any other way. So he did something two years ago that most people would consider quixotic: He quit his high-powered job as a senior vice president of cancer research at Merck to go on a mission to disrupt biology.[...][Continue Here]