"The subtypes match the genes. People with a particular genetic predisposition only get one subtype," he says. "And we already know this is a productive path. It has already worked with leukaemia. Eighty per cent of kids with childhood leukaemia now survive five years, due to advances in diagnosis which separates one subtype from another."
Today at the 19th International Congress of Genetics in Melbourne, Dr Botstein was awarded the 2003 Genetics Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation--one of the discipline's highest accolades--for a lifetime of such work linking genes with their impact.
As the official citation makes clear, David Botstein has been one of the driving forces of modern genetics. In fact, he has been called "The Father of Modern Genetics". His work, for instance, established the ground rules for human genetic mapping and laid the foundation of the human genome project. He also co-discovered transposons or "jumping genes" in bacteria.
"Throughout his career, he has been a powerhouse of innovation, and his concepts and strategies have repeatedly opened new avenues for genetic research," the official citation reads.
His work will continue at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University of which he has just been appointed the director. "We're talking about using computers and mathematics to probe biology--bioinformatics, computational biology and the like. And we want to become leaders in teaching students in this area."
Contact: Niall Byrne
International Congress of Genetics