Harold – I agree. My fear has been that Calico will adopt an encyclopedic approach rather than a targeted approach. Google’s strength has been massive data processing, but I’m skeptical that this approach will work with biology.
On Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:06 PM, Dr. Harold Katcher wrote:
Dear All,All of that sounds totally unfocused on aging – not a waste of time – because the knowledge may someday be relevant- but what does any of that have to do with aging – unless you know what you are looking for – otherwise you just have mountains of data and are looking for patterns whether they make sense or not. So ” identifying all of the functional elements in the human genome and revealing how these working parts vary both in humans and other species.” so how do we know when we’ve identified all the functional elements of the genome? Fifty years ago we could have easily done so – and fifty years from now – what we missed will be obvious, and fifty years from then…. Okay how long is that going to take? And, ” Define the biological circuits that underlie cellular responses.” Okay – when we have single protein kinases that interact with thousands of different molecules in many different networks (circuits), are we really going to “define” the biological circuits? The complexity of these circuits where individual nodes can change functions entirely based on the intracellular environment – with substrate a protein is an enzyme a part of a metabolic chain- without substrate its a transcription factors that encourages the cell to manufacture whatever it takes to make its substrate. Now that is a worthy goal – I have no doubt that it will be done – eventually (if money if funneled into a non-productive science like aging research as it exists, maybe never). But that is not what is needed – it’s a fishing expedition – it may produce publications – but it won’t get any closer to what aging is. Now I am pleased that they say ‘biological networks’ leaving the possibility that there are extra-cellular networks – and that is the truth – but they’re leaving out the experiments that work and instead (and I’ll bet with the en(dis)couragement of Tom Kirkwood), so they’re not going out on a limb – it’s business as usual – we’ll pretend to find cures – discover that there are three thousand genes involved in a disease trait according to genome wide association studies (which means absolutely nothing).
Then we get, ” Uncover the molecular basis of major inherited diseases”; Hey! Why didn’t anyone try that before? What a concept -as though half of all published papers weren’t about just that. And then, ” Discover the molecular basis of major infectious diseases. ” I didn’t realize that the molecular basis of infectious disease was an aspect of aging research. What a total load of crap, what a total waste of money (at least if your interest is aging) – then of course the last goal is truly amazing: “Transform the process of therapeutic discovery and development.” – why not say instead, “perform miracles by as yet unknown methods”.