BIO Celebrates Finished Human Genome, 50th Anniversary of the Double Helix

April 14, 2003 (Washington, D.C.) - BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum today issued the following statement:

“April 25th marks the 50th anniversary of the day Francis Crick and James Watson launched the modern era of molecular biology with the publication of a short letter in Nature elucidating the structure of DNA.

“Today marks yet another scientific milestone, the announcement of the ‘finished’ version of the human genome sequence and the completion of the Human Genome Project. But the enterprise of deciphering life and applying that knowledge to human and environmental problems is far from finished, although the pace of discovery is accelerating. Just this morning, I opened the newspaper to find that the genome of the apparent virus behind SARS has been sequenced in only six days, beginning the quest to discover targets and therapies for this life-threatening disease.”

“No doubt in another 50 years we will look back in wonder at just how much suffering will have been alleviated through a chain of events that began in the early 1950s with a couple of scientists looking for ‘the secret of life’ in X-ray diffraction photos and ball-and-stick chemical models.”

BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and in 33 other countries. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, please visit