lunes, noviembre 26, 2007

¿Qué piensa internet?

Los avances tecnológicos en los últimos 15 años siempre han ido bastante más adelante en comparación con la velocidad de los medios para entender las necesidades de las audiencias. Es inevitable pensar que ya se acostumbraron a la reacción: el daño parece no siempre ser tan profundo y doloroso. Por ejemplo, el NYT acaba de enterarse que un 20% de sus suscriptores no necesita del diario para contactarse o formar redes de poder, porque lo hacen a través de Facebook. Por supuesto, El diario tomó la decisión de entrar con sus contenidos a esta red social. Y probablemente piense que en ese nicho, no perderá ese público fiel al que apuesta. La pregunta es cuáles serán los próximos pasos en dirección a consquistar los deseos de la opinión pública y cómo están los medios en ese escenario. Los expertos apuntan a que las redes sociales y los contenidos para telefonía móvil serán los caminos que tomará internet. Algo de eso expone el siguiente artículo publicado en Portfolio.
Por David Ewing Duncan
This just in: Illumina C.E.O. Jay Flatley has the “sprinting” gene, a cluster of DNA that is associated with professional athletes and Olympic track stars, those human beings whose muscles twitch fast instead of slow. Flatley, a stocky 55-year-old industrial engineer, chuckles at this discovery.On the other hand, he lacks a fairly common gene variant linked to Type 2 diabetes. That’s good news, he says, zooming in on a virtual human body that’s now floating on his computer screen. He clicks on the figure’s leg, and up pops a page describing the gene for restless legs syndrome, a malady that causes some people to flail around at night, resulting in sleeplessness. The webpage includes graphics, descriptions, and links to studies and references, including PubMed, an online health science library. “This site will tell me if I have a gene for obesity,” he says, “or whether my earwax is wet or dry. I’m not kidding.
”My fast but fantastic voyage through the inner Flatley comes during a visit to his company’s San Diego headquarters, where he has allowed me to peek at an early version of the site being developed by a Silicon Valley startup, 23andMe, which is named after the number of paired chromosomes in every human. In stealth mode until a launch planned for later this year, 23andMe is using Illumina’s powerful gene-reading chips to build a company that is among several hoping to cash in on personalized genomics—the tailoring of an individual’s health care and lifestyle based on DNA and biomarkers.When 23andMe goes live, customers will be asked to spit into short plastic tubes or to swab cells from inside their cheeks and mail in the sample. 23andMe will then analyze the data in relation to reams of information about ailments, treatments, diet, and ancestry and compare the results with those of thousands of others who have been tested for genes associated with diseases and other traits.
The cybersynthesis will be channeled into a customized DNA diary on the website. The company is considering a feature that would allow people to then link their personalized pages to those of others who share their DNA—fellow sprinters, say, or people at risk for Alzheimer’s—just as you can now link to college chums on Facebook. 23andMe has not discussed pricing, but competitors are talking about charging upwards of $2,000 a person.As wonderful as this sounds, 23andMe is plunging into very controversial territory. Scientists and ethicists warn that the understanding of most genes remains a work in progress—and, as a result, users could make life decisions based on incomplete or erroneous science. “Just because we have identified a gene doesn’t mean its function or its impact has been thoroughly understood or that having a gene has any real predictive value,” says Francis Collins, who led the international consortium that sequenced the human genome and now directs the National Human Genome Research Institute.


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