Gentlemen, It is Time For Even More Discussion on Genomics 15 October 2003
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Trevor G Marshall,
Managing Editor,

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Re: Gentlemen, It is Time For Even More Discussion on Genomics

Dr Powlson, I do not have AIDS, I know nobody with AIDS, my work is not related to AIDS, yet this discussion on the HIV genome here at BMJ is one of the most interesting and valuable 'Rapid Responses' that I have observed.

What is being discussed here are the ground rules for genomic medicine. While both sides would claim that the rules are already solid, the areas of fluidity should be obvious to any observer.

I personally have a great deal of trouble considering a virus as homogenous when there are so many indicators pointing to a multiplicity of species, which may, or may not, not be related. I refer not only to HIV but to the influenza genome.

We are soon to be faced with trying to understand variations in the SARS Coronavirus genome. That is why I read these discussions, each one of them, with increasing interest. There is negligable page-cost here on 'Rapid Responses', and BMJ is doing a huge service to medicine by providing a forum where this kind of discussion can take place. We may not enoy it, the protagonists may not enjoy it, but it is vitally necessary as we struggle to deal with this emerging field of medicine called 'Genomics'.

Competing interests: None declared