To unravel nature’s finest recipes for enabling life to thrive.
To develop an engaged global citizenry on matters of DNA.
To create products that improve the human condition.
THE PROBLEM WE AIM TO ADDRESS
A DNA-literate society is more important now than ever before. We stand at the frontier of immense change for the human condition: DNA editing to delete diseases; gene drives to optimize agriculture; bacterial redesign to fix global warming. In equal measure, however, unintended consequences could be disastrous (destruction of ecologies, irreversible change to human genetics). New possibilities challenge the archaic institutions of our society and the deepest beliefs of our people. In order to have informed debate about policy and ethics, and for the world to move forward thoughtfully amid the genomic revolution, DNA-literacy is imperative. Interestingly, there is also a simultaneous data deluge in biology. The flood of data recently created by next-generation DNA sequencing has left us scrambling to ask the right questions. There are over 1,400 public DNA repositories but not enough people are empowered to understand and extrapolate insights from these large biological datasets.
THE PRODUCT WE WISH TO CREATE FOR THE WORLD
ROSA’s complete vision is based on four platforms: Digital Publishing Group (DPG), Marketplace (MP), Forum, and Learn. DPG will curate content (written, video, virtual) that inspires the world to understand D.N.A. It’s critical to have an engaged and informed populace as the world grapples with the complexities of GMOs, gene drives, and eugenics while embracing the full potential of the genomic revolution. MP will be an exchange between labs worldwide. Labs can sell their specialties (buffers, solutions, etc.) to ultimately offer comparative advantage to the broader biology community while also giving labs a conduit for extra research funds. Forum will be an online community where citizen scientists and institutional scientists can intermingle to problem solve and ideate. Learn is ROSA’s signature offering: a platform where anyone can learn bioinformatics and computational biology and then apply that learning to the vast amounts of publicly available repositories of genomic data.
THE POSSIBILITY WE SEE
Two immense possibilities have collided for the first time in our history, holding the potential to unleash scientific discovery and fundamentally improve the human condition. The first is our ability as a species to be conscious editors of our own code. The other is the deluge of genomic data now at our disposal to fully grasp genetics better and faster than ever. The former is the most powerful tool any species has ever had. The latter is the wisdom to thoughtfully and effectively wield that tool.
If we could empower more people to get involved in this genomic revolution, we could change the world forever and help improve the human condition like never before. This is the possibility we see. ROSA’s benefits are two-fold. The first is the education of our societies to better understand D.N.A. and the genomic revolution. In an era where gene editing will be routine, the world must thoughtfully discuss the ethics and consequences of our actions. We’ve always relied on nature to figure this out. Never has a species been the conscious editor of its own code. Debates around the ‘right thing to do’ could easily be driven by emotions instead of logic. A basic understanding in the science of D.N.A. technology will pave the way for thoughtful public dialogue.
The second benefit is empowerment of anyone to analyze publicly available genomic data. Science has historically struggled to generate enough data to gain timely conclusions to big questions. Today, we’ve got the data points and conclusions, but we aren’t asking the right questions. We need more analysts. By virtue of scale, greater insights will come. Anyone will be able to advance the human condition unlike ever before.
HOW WE ARE MORE INNOVATIVE THAN ANYONE ELSE ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM
Nobody is engaging the general public to catalyze the genomic revolution. While there have been significant resources dedicated to advancing gene editing techniques and vast consortiums developed to break silos across global institutions, no one is focused on bridging these sophisticated platforms to the general public. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts – this adage could not be truer for the advancement of humanity in the era of big data biology.
Bringing the general public into the conversation is innovative. Developing new media content curated for the digital economy is innovative. Empowering anyone from anywhere to leverage the power of big data in biology to advance the human condition is innovative. Building out a forum where institutional scientists and citizen scientists can intermingle is innovative. In putting all these facets together, ROSA is more innovative than anyone else addressing the problem.