[ASC-media] Melbourne hosts International Genetics Congress - London launch today

Niall Byrne niall at byc.com.au
Mon Jan 20 09:14:41 EST 2003

Melbourne is hosting the 19th International Genetics Congress from 6 to 11
July 2003. The Congress is being launched in London at 6 pm today by the
photographer who took the classic Watson and Crick photo. See the photo at

Here's the press release for your information. Please feel free to pass it
on to UK colleagues.

"We've got this model"
said Francis Crick to photographer Antony Barrington Brown.

It was the double helix structure of DNA - the discovery that kick-started
the genetics revolution 50 years ago.

Meet the photographer who caught the moment, with Watson and Crick standing
by an array of stands, rods and balls. And get prepared for the inside story
on the future of the genetics revolution.

Media representatives are invited to the European launch of the 19th
International Congress of Genetics at Australia House, Strand, London at 6
pm Monday 20 January.

The first Congress was held in 1899 in London - before the term genetics had
even been coined. The XIX Congress will be held in Melbourne Australia from
6 to 11 July 2003.

"The genetics revolution hasn't even got going yet, it is just on the
starting line," says Dr Phil Batterham, Secretary General of the Congress.
"In the next fifty years we are going to see a true revolution that will
change everything from a visit to the GP, to industry, agriculture,
conservation, and our very understanding of what it is to be human."

"In medicine for example we still largely rely on doctors asking how we
feel, and inferring what might be wrong from our description of symptoms.
Soon your doctor will be able to review your personal genetic code, quickly
identifying genetic disease or genetically encoded pre-disposition to
diseases. Prescriptions will be selected on the basis of our genetics. Soon
we will understand how genes control our development, behaviour, and death."

"Genomics confirms that we are one species and one race - we make too much
of the differences. Rather we should be trying to understand what makes us
so different to our cousins, the chimpanzees, says Philip Batterham. 

"Computer development within the giants of industry, such as Hewlett
Packard, is already driven by the demand to store and analyse the massive
stockpile of genetic data that grows daily."

With seven Nobel Laureates and 280 other distinguished speakers, the XIX
Congress will be a unique opportunity for researchers and the media to
explore the scientific, ethical and social implications of the genetics
revolution. Visit www.geneticscongress2003.com for more information.

More about the photo
Barrington Brown received a tip-off that someone at the Cavendish Laboratory
had made an important discovery, and went to take a picture to go with a
freelancer's story for Time magazine. 

Barrington Brown recalls: "I knocked at the door of one of dozens of similar
rooms where research students worked and was affably greeted by a couple of
chaps lounging at a desk by the window, drinking coffee. " What's all this
about?" I asked. With an airy wave of the hand one of them, Crick I think,
said 'we've got this model' indicating an array of retort stands holding
think brass rods and balls. It meant absolutely nothing to me, so I set up
my lights and camera and said 'you'd better stand by it and look portentous'
which they manifestly failed to do, treating my efforts as a bit of a joke."

In due course, Watson and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize and Barrington
Brown's photograph now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. To
celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix,
Science Photo Gallery have released limited edition prints

For further information about the Congress and for access to print quality
versions of the photo contact Niall Byrne, niall at byc.com.au

To RSVP please contact Adelaide Boon, tel: +44 20 7632 0011, email:
adelaide.boon at investaustralia.gov.au.

To access print quality versions of the image contact
maria.storey at sciencephoto.com. Please acknowledge

Niall Byrne
Science Communication Consultant
Byrne Young Communication Pty Ltd
PO Box 199 Drysdale 3222 Australia
Ph +61 3 5253 1391, fax +61 3 9923 6008, mobile 0417 131 977
niall at byc.com.au

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