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12th February 2002: "The Human Genome: Gift or Goldmine?"

The Cafe Scientifique maintains its proud tradition of inviting the most recent Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer to speak, with the invitation of Sir John Sulston in February of the new year. He will be accompanied by local writer Georgina Ferry, with whom he has written a book, to be published in February 2002.

John Sulston and Georgina Ferry, authors of The Common Thread: a story of science, politics, ethics and the human genome (Bantam Press, February 2002) discuss what the sequencing of the human genome will mean for medical science and for our understanding of ourselves. They argue that the information in the genome should be freely available for the benefit of all, and not carved up for private profit.

Sir John Sulston was the Director of the Sanger Centre near Cambridge from 1993-2000, where he led the British team that is sequencing one third of the human genome as part of the international Human Genome Project. In December 2001 he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, broadcast on Channel 4, under the title The Secrets of Life.

Georgina Ferry is a freelance science writer who has previously worked with New Scientist and the BBC Radio Science Unit. She is the author of Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life (Granta Books 1999) and edits Oxford Today magazine.

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