As I wrote in our January 1 issue, GEN turns 30 this year and we invite you to join the celebration. We have a number of events and activities planned throughout 2011, so look out for them.
For instance, each issue in 2011 will feature a reprinted article from one of GEN’s earlier issues because of its particular importance and relevance to the development and evolution of the biotech industry. In our January 1 issue, we ran Ronald Rosenberg’s story on Mark Ptashne’s decision to form one of the first biotech companies, Genetics Institute, without any assistance from Harvard University.
The story, which originally appeared in the first issue of GEN (Vol. 1, No. 1, January/February 1981), demonstrated the reluctance of many academic organizations to become involved in commercial ventures during the early years of the developing biotech industry. While largely a thing of the past, one very occasionally still runs into a professor or researcher who balks at the idea of combining science and business.
Below you will find another article from GEN’s first year in the publishing world. This one describes the appearance of the world’s first laboratory robot. While ubiquitous now, the little electronic lab assistant introduced by Zymark represented a key event that significantly helped biotech scientists to carry out their research more efficiently and economically.
We encourage you to comment on the article on our website, www.genengnews.com. Feel free to discuss, for example, the historical development of lab robots, the role they play in research today, or where such technology might be headed in the future. We are extremely interested in what you have to say!
—John Sterling, Editor in Chief