Genomic Co-operation

‘The Human Genome Project marked a new approach in biomedical research, one in which the scientific community came together to characterize systematically a large domain of important biological knowledge.’ Human Genome Sequencing Consortium,  2004

More than 2800 researchers who took part in the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium share authorship on the Nature paper.’ Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, 2004

‘The Human Genome Project arose from two key insights that emerged in the early 1980s: that the ability to take global views of genomes could greatly accelerate biomedical research, by allowing researchers to attack problems in a comprehensive and unbiased fashion; and that the creation of such global views would require a communal effort in infrastructure building, unlike anything previously attempted in biomedical research.’  "International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium" International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, Nature, 2001

Elevation of principle to visibility in practice

Elevation of principle to visibility in practice;

golden founding stone of global co-operation,

sharing, open access – in literally dumping nightly

the volumes of mankind - open for anyone to read.

One driving, definitive motive, fuel – mankind united

through scientific ambassadors right around the world;

represented, moving towards one goal - public victory

of learning - increase of knowledge towards medicine;

unmasked, deciphered disease – not for one man here,

or that man there, but the global community of science

and scientific fact now proved; every man is every man,

uncovered - reading his own polished script aloud, once.


‘One difference in a thousand separates a Chinese peasant from a US president. Differences of just 1.5% of the genome accounts for the creation of a chimpanzee rather than a human.’ BBC Science online

‘…the nobler works of peace/ Hence bless mankind;/ And generous commerce binds/ The round of nations in a golden chain…’ James Thomson, 1700-48, The Seasons, Summer

‘…humans are incredibly similar to one another. Any two unrelated genome sequences differ at only one position in a thousand, on average. The 0.1 per cent difference…is what makes each of us genetically unique.’ Wellcome Trust, 2003

‘On strengthened wing for evermore,/ Let Science, swiftly as she can,/ Fly seaward on from shore to shore,/ And bind the links of man to man…’ George Meredith, The Olive Branch, 1828-1909

‘The store cupboard of the brain contains images from the ancestral past of the species. We could call it a collective unconscious, if the phrase had not become tarnished by association.’ Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow, Penguin, 1998

‘Globalisation is no longer a distant option. It is here already.’ Why There is Such a Thing as Society, Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

"You and I differ by 2.1 million genetic letters from each other. Probably only a few thousand of those differences account for the biological differences between us, which means we all are essentially identical twins - even more than I thought." Dr Craig Venter, Celera Genomics

Humanity is a blood family

Humanity is a blood family -

from the dust of stars refined

to the holy light of a new child,

witnessed by any new parent -

also present at peaceful death,

infiltrating a late summer day;

to the beauty of the Genome

expressing her flesh letters -

incandescent genetic switches;

organic, interactive chemistry.

Every war is domestic -

each corpse our brother.

‘This haplotype arrangement appears to be similar in all the different populations around the world, suggesting that many of them represent ancestral haplotypes that existed in the earliest humans. The existence of a restricted set of haplotypes is probably a reflection of our recent origins. In simple terms, there haven’t been enough generations of human beings to mix up the genome completely. This characteristic also means that haplotypes are increasingly being used to study changes to human populations (evolution, migrations and so on.)  The relatively low level of shuffling not only reduces the                   total amount of variation in the human population, but it also considerably simplifies the process of finding disease genes. By carefully selecting individual SNPs that unambiguously define a particular haplotype in a block (haplotype tag SNPs or ht-SNPs), a much smaller number of typing assays will be sufficient to predict the pattern of alleles for all the other SNPs in the same block without having to genotype them individually. Therefore, far fewer SNPs, perhaps only 300 000; 500 000, will need to be typed in association studies to provide genome-wide coverage. This is within the capability of today’s high-throughput typing technologies.’ Wellcome, 2003

More binding than continents or countries

Brothers in blood; humanity’s genetic history

is more binding than continents or countries -

Utopia already exists if we would let it be -

we are all one family, almost identical one

to another; truly brothers, with all Earth’s creatures.

Ignorance, time, have made us blind, masking kind

truth; how simple the solution to conflicts of centuries -

understand the Genome, her messages of deeper kinship;

global, irreducible, unchallengable - no piss-taking

possible of this; not vision, but reality, hard as fact.

‘Tears themselves are an unsolved evolutionary mystery.’ Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow, Penguin, 1998

When we cry for strangers

When we cry for strangers,

water in our eyes is saline,

liquid love, dripping visible;

silvery with an interior light

distilled over four billennia,

in billions of skin bottlings

brewing our high emotional art -

compassion, empathy and sorrow,

expressed by the first waters -

preserved in communal body,

heart - cruciferous brain

storming with sparkling

firefly molecules; genetic memories

flying, crackling mercury messages.

Crying for the suffering of the world

always honours humanity, like prayer.


When we look into another’s eyes,

to see tears we have called there -

we recognise genetic brotherhood;

compassion’s physical molecules.

What liquid art of humanity

What liquid art of humanity,

the tears we shed for others,

unknown, unseen; for geographical

strangers - big-eyed stick fishermen

by broken boats; these black African babies

printing our soul with an unforgettable guilt

that this should happen on our timewatch

over the planet - to everybody’s children,

in the one genetic family of the whole world.

What some call prurient, emotional vulturing,

I call compassion - unless warped to hysteria;

virus born of feeling, heated, fanned, to fever.

The tear I cry for another

The tear I cry for another

unknown Homo sapiens,

is silver, lasting; mercury

in the eyes of the world -

all counted, gleaming,

like light seeds falling

on earth, into rooted darkness;

fruiting at last, growing white

flowers - sounding a high note

in a rising hymn, poetic words.

‘And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.’ Genesis 2, The Bible

“Only 2% of troops on the frontline shoot to kill”

I learned from a late night TV programme, only 2% of troops on the frontline

shoot to kill. FUCK! How can it have taken until now, 21st Century, to tell us?

Where are the trumpet blasts? The world rejoicing? Where are the white flags?

All men are sons and fathers; husbands, brothers, friends, before being soldiers.

They’ve known since the Second World War, all these good young men looking

into eyes, through the rifle’s automatic eye, seeing another man, not the enemy -

nothing so black and white, crude; didn’t it bloody tell men anything about wars?

Why didn’t they tell each other? What happened to men, that they could not tell?

That’s being a man – every woman would have known by the end of the first day,

of the world’s first war; what glorious, incredible, fucking amazing, mind-blowing, crying news – I kept turning it over and over, this gold thought - shine of it hurting my eyes, what it meant. How simple, full of grace - how poignant - full of sad rage;

how unexpected, totally bloody uplifting – Medieval soldier on his castle ramparts winging arrows into air (impressively) - brave Knight’s sword (heroically) waving,

so splendid, but cutting clouds, clashing onto armour not skin and bone - jumping muskets pumping puffs of smoke to hide the near, judged miss - bayonets spearing

legs not hearts - carefully wounding instead of killing - the knowledge and thanks

speaking in another man’s eyes; bullets splitting air with lightning stories of death

and blood dreaming in their silver heads, making for the sky, burned in blue peace. How it shows to us - as we are always shown, when all the lights seem going out -

how intrinsically good humanity really is; how we do shine in the worst darkness – and now we have a statistic to help us limp along, prove again how bad the samples of us taken are; in history, on TV, the News, (remember the slagging of the poor TV presenter who said he thought people would be interested in hearing some good news

too, for a change – when they would). How perverted we are, that the 2% are the ones in charge; the psychopaths, psychotics, mentally disturbed, morally bankcrupt, socially corrupt, as the programme described-  and we, the lovers of peace, always in their thrall. Break out, break out the banners of peace; the multi-coloured silks should all turn white,

for this is our true world flag - blank white. Our army outnumbers them 98%, is made of all peoples of the world; and the hurt world will keep on proving it with blood, over and over, until we learn the old T-shirt mantra of ‘Love and Peace’, ‘ Love and Peace’. Love. Surely, now, we see we are the creatures of peace, the creatures of love, not killers in our

heart; our instinct, prompted by millennia of honing genes, is not to kill but join

each other - a brotherhood against mad bisons, killer beasts - to help each other

be strong. Our strength is in numbers, yes - but not in armies, killing other men.

But now they know, they don’t stop the wars, oh, no, but train men to overcome

being men, whip their genes into submission; becoming not human, not animals, but temporarily psychotic, insane - overriding four billion years of instinct, learning love, civilisation - to kill another man, man begging for his mother, to live, see his children again. An army doctor told me how the toughest, bravest men - in agony, instinctively

cry for their mothers; how terrible the sound so far away from home, so unfulfillable. The TV programme told us how - after killing, they’re left to deal with Nature’s pain, manifested in hearts and nerves - for her pain and theirs are one. How they can never quite recover, find peace from the destruction of the sacred, their genetic trangression;

how some even go to join the ones they killed, to find that promised peace, lost.

Oh, the pity for all those boys and men, these wretched male children of history;

“Only 2% of troops shoot to kill” - now I know, I love men so much more, hope

so much more for the troubled world, for the Genome not enslaved to politicians,

aggressive men, generals. She is child of Nature, social, ever evolving, desiring peace; these are the lessons she has learned and honed over four billennia to the present day - offering her genetic gifts, her knowledge, her practical advice from every creature ever; every man who died for Evolution to teach her creature that peace, co-operation is right.

Fine People

Through every life thread a few fine people;

those whom Natural Selection has cultured -

by favouring kindness, care, compassion

over all else, in perfecting the art of love.

These good people are organic lights on Earth,

defeating bad shadows - black holes of wicked

people; prefiguring angels, when human flesh

is cast off like snake skin, wings are triggered

from a chemical memory - disembodied skill;

trembling out of existence in life - imaginary,

only seen on bare children on a summer’s day.

Anticipating haloes, a gold atmosphere - glow

about their heads, that warms and comforts you -

the constant stars of their eyes fix and illuminate,

making you believe again in battered concepts

as guide and goal - that their army is still there.

They are necessary; leavening Earth, salting

society - leaving their genetic mark to spiral

onward, spread as a positive force, affecting

all genomes; outcomes in an invisible battle

Note from the author
exploring the project

    The Human Genome Project
    – Public versus private
    Gene Patenting
    Blood Poems
        Genomic Co-operation
    Holy-Moley-More God!

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