To Abbey, My Remarkable Daughter:

In a few weeks, you will graduate from high school and begin the next phase of your life journey. Reflecting on this milestone, I am struck by how your life has paralleled spectacular advances in an area of biology that I have worked in for my entire career—genomics, the study of all the DNA of a living organism.

When you were born in 1999, I and thousands of other genomics researchers around the world were working intensely on the Human Genome Project, a 13-year odyssey to “decode” the human genome (that is, to determine the order of the roughly 3 billion “letters” in human DNA). While you were finger-painting and napping in pre-school in 2003, we completed that effort. As you moved through grade school and middle school, we worked diligently to make sense of our genome's code by analyzing all those ordered Gs, As,...

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