The Rafael del Pino Foundation hosted the Keynote Lecture by James D. Watson entitled "The discovery of the double helix in 1953", on 7 October 2010.
James D. Watson said: "The time since we discovered DNA and the road we have travelled since then has pushed DNA research to its limits, almost to its limits. But the influence of DNA research continues to grow in importance - certainly more than I would ever have imagined, thanks to the new technologies that are being applied to it. We hope that manipulating DNA, for example, will help to create new forms of energy generation. We will soon start to see industrial applications, which are unimaginable at the moment when the most obvious consequences of studying DNA are being applied in the field of medicine. In the next few years we will probably see a good part of the types of cancer being defeated; at least we are going to try. So we have come a long way, where the falling costs of research have meant that money is not an obstacle and progress is only affected by how fast societies are willing to accept it.
On what is to come in DNA research, James D. Watson said, "This century will see an increase in the study of the relationship between DNA and brain function. We will investigate how the human brain works and the genetics of human behaviour. Ultimately, we will try to find out how free we are, whether our personalities are genetically predetermined or whether we can be made smarter by taking certain drugs, which I hope we can. Or, for example, to get control of our emotions in the case of mental illness. I don't know if we will be able to cure mental illness, but at least we will be able to control it better and avoid some of the real tragedies of mental illness.