BETHESDA, Md., April 14, 2003 The International Human Genome Sequencing group, led in the United States by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Department of Energy (DOE), nowadays announced the winning completion of the Human Genome Project more than two years ahead of schedule.
Also today, NHGRI unveiled its brave new vision for the future of genome research; formally usher in the era of the genome. The vision will be in print in the April 24 issue of the journal Nature, coincide with the 50th anniversary of Nature's book of the landmark paper by Nobel laureates James Watson and Francis Crick that described DNA's double helix. Dr. Watson also was the first leader of the Human Genome Project.
The international effort to series the 3 billion DNA letters in the human genome is careful by many to be one of the most determined technical undertakings of all time, even compared to splitting the atom or going to the moon. The flagship effort of the Human Genome Project has been produce the situation sequence of the human genome. The international consortium announced the first draft of the human sequence in June 2000. Since then, researchers have worked tirelessly to convert the "draft" sequence into a "finished" sequence.
The finished sequence produced by the Human Genome Project covers about 99 percent of the human genome's gene-containing regions, and it has been sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99 percent. In addition, to help researchers better appreciate the meaning of the human genetic instruction book, the project took on a wide range of other goals, from sequencing the genomes of model organisms to developing new technologies to study whole genomes. As of April 14, 2003, all of the Human Genome Project's ambitious goals have been met or surpassed.
The global Human Genome Sequencing Consortium built-in hundreds of scientists at 20 sequencing center in China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the United States. The five institution that generate the most series were: Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research, Cambridge, Mass.; DOE's Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, Calif.; and The Welcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge, England.
"The size of the Human Genome Project is unparalleled in biology. The international vision and collaboration of the scientists involved played a crucial role in the project's success," said Mark Walport, M.D., director designate of The Wellcome Trust, which led the Human Genome Project in the United Kingdom. "The genome is the common thread that connects us all, so it is only fitting that the sequence has been given to us by scientists from all corners of the earth."
"Achieving the goals of the Human Genome Project is a historic milestone. But this is no time to rest and relax "With this foundation of knowledge firmly in place, the medical advances promised from the project can now be significantly accelerated."
NHGRI's U.S. partner in the Human Genome Project, DOE, has also developed its own forward-looking plan for genome research. The DOE plan, published in the April 11 issue of the journal Science, is focused on understanding the ways in which microorganisms can provide new opportunities for developing clean energy, reducing type of weather change and cleaning the environment. To achieve that vision, DOE has begun the "Genomes to Life" program, which will join research in biology, engineering and computation with the development of novel facilities for high-throughput biology projects.