Innovators who hope to better our lives through biotechnology are meeting in Des Moines. Tom Ranken is the symposium’s keynote speaker. He’s past-director of the Seattle, Washington-based Biotech Trade Association and is now heading up a company focused on “bio-informatics.”That’s the intersection of the knowledge created in biology by D-N-A, human genomes and similar research with the tools to interpret the data, be it software or statistical analysis. Ranken says there is a wealth of data being generated by genetic research which must be properly organized and managed so it can lead to new discoveries. He says he’s enthused about the future of life sciences, and that they are beginning to understand the process of what makes life work in a whole new way. *While Iowa seeks to diversify itself in industries that have little or nothing to do with agriculture, Ranken says Iowa’s traditional mainstay of food production holds many new promises through advances in biotechnology.Ranken describes the recent troubles with genetically-modified StarLink corn as “a bump in the road.” The conference runs through tomorrow at the Des Moines Marriott.
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