life sciences unmistakably on course to a major acceleration of discovery and innovation. It is a matter of great and justified excitement that a sharp upturn in the curve of conceptual progress is coming into view.

But realizing this potential will require a crucial transition within the life sciences. It will require significant investment and will no doubt cause some disruption of engrained educational, institutional, and even intellectual habits. The question must be asked whether the life sciences are ready to capitalize on this potential. Perhaps it would be preferable to continue to focus on current approaches until further progress makes success more likely. What is the urgency, or the claimed opportunity, to move forward now?

One response appeals to America’s competitive spirit. The United States was a leader in the development of the life sciences throughout the 20th century and would benefit greatly by remaining in that position in the 21st century. Especially in economically challenging times, the drive to stay at the forefront of critical areas of research can motivate needed investments and changes.

The time to move forward is now.

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