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December 1, 2010: News, Research & Events from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: Map your DNA, WikiLeaks, Marshall Scholar
DNA mapping: Assessing the pros and cons 10 years later

In 2000, researchers produced an entire map of the human genome -- a revolutionary blueprint of the DNA in the cells of the human body. Fast forward to today, when anyone with an extra $50,000 or so can determine his risk for genetic illness through gene mapping. Within 10 years, the price is expected to drop to $1,000, allowing millions to buy the full sequence of their genetic code.

What are the ethical, legal and policy challenges of individual genotyping, and what has gene mapping revealed so far about diseases and their potential cures? Join us in Doré Commons on Dec. 6 for a panel discussion on this rapidly developing science with three experts in the field: Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health; Gail Javitt, a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP; and John Mendelsohn, president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Panelists will discuss the future of medicine tailored to an individual's DNA, as well as the successes and challenges of the Human Genome Project. "Ten years ago, we thought unlocking the DNA code would tell us everything about the prevention and treatment of human diseases," said Kirstin Matthews, the institute's fellow in science and technology policy. "But the human body is extraordinarily complex. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don't know. While we work to develop the full potential of this science, it's also crucial to focus on its enormous implications for policy."

The panel discussion is the third event in the Medicine, Research and Society Policy Issues Series, a joint project of the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

RSVP to attend "Personalized Genomic Medicine: Genetics in Health Care" on Dec. 6 at 8:15 am. The event is open to the public. We will also host a live webcast

Ambassador Djerejian and institute fellow Bronk on WikiLeaks

In a Nov. 30, 2010, article in Foreign Policy, Baker Institute founding director Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian and information technology fellow Christopher Bronk weigh in on the potentially disastrous effects of WikiLeaks' publication of more than 250,000 U.S. embassy cables. "U.S. diplomats spend years building effective professional and personal relationships with their foreign counterparts in order to promote national security interests and values," they write. "This breach of information can seriously impair and hinder that capability."  Read the article "How Disastrous is WikiLeaks for the State Department?" on the Foreign Policy website.

Baker Institute intern named a Marshall Scholar

Rice senior and Baker Institute intern Jingyuan Luo is one of the 40 students across the nation to be awarded a Marshall Scholarship this year.

Luo, who is currently interning with the Baker Institute Science and Technology Program and studying stem cell policy, will use the Marshall Scholarship to complete a Master of Science in biomedicine, bioscience and society at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She also will pursue a Master of Research in stem cell biology at Imperial College London.

The prestigious award allows intellectually distinguished American students to pursue two years of graduate study at any institution in the United Kingdom.

Luo has also participated in two off-campus Baker Institute internship progams. She interned at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., as part of the Jesse Jones Leadership Center Summer in D.C. Policy Research Internship Program. Baker Institute support also allowed her to intern at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Paris. Luo blogged about her experiences in Paris in a July 13, 2010, post "On Bastille Day, memories of Paris."

"My experiences as a D.C. intern, IFRI intern and now an intern in the Science and Technology Policy Program were great platforms to learn about science policy," Luo said. "I'm extremely grateful for the Baker Institute in allowing me access to these opportunities."

A second Rice student also won a Marshall Scholarship -- Rice senior Anthony Austin, who is working on dual degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics.

Learn more about internship opportunities at the Baker Institute for Rice students interested in public policy.

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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.
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