In 1990, scientists launched one of the largest international collaborations in life science, an effort to sequence the human genome. This work inspired a new generation of genetic researchers and led to countless breakthroughs in new technologies, informatics, and medicine. I was one of the researchers who had their careers launched by this effort.
Now, in 2012, there’s a need for a new grand challenge, and I can think of none better than to have scientists organize to write a human genome. If you think this is hard, remember, it’s what every cell has to do each time it divides.