The Human Genome Project

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The Human Genome Project (HGP) is a project undertaken with a goal to understand the genetic make-up of the human species by determining the DNA sequence of the human genome and the genome of a few model organisms. The project began in 1990 and, by some definitions, it was completed in 2003. It was one of the biggest investigational projects in the history of science. The mapping of the human genes was an important step in the development of medicines and other aspects of health care. Most of the genome DNA sequencing for the Human Genome Project was done by researchers at universities and research centers in the the United States and Great Britain, with other genome DNA sequencing done independently by the private company Celera Genomics. The HGP was originally aimed at the more than three billion nucleotides contained in a haploid reference human genome. Recently several groups have announced efforts to extend this to diploid human genomes including the International HapMap Project, Applied Biosystems, Perlegen, Illumina, JCVI, Personal Genome Project, and Roche-454. The "genome" of any given individual (except for identical twins and cloned animals) is unique; mapping "the human genome" involves sequencing multiple variations of each gene. The project did not study all of the DNA found in human cells; some heterochromatic areas (about 8% of the total) remain un-sequenced.

International HGP

Initiation of the Project was the culmination of several years of work supported by the Department of Energy, in particular workshops in 1984 [1] and 1986 and a subsequent initiative the Department of Energy.[2] This 1986 report stated boldly, "The ultimate goal of this initiative is to understand the human genome" and "Knowledge of the human genome is as necessary to the continuing progress of medicine and other health sciences as knowledge of human anatomy has been for the present state of medicine." Candidate technologies were already being considered for the proposed undertaking at least as early as 1985.[3] James D. Watson was Head of the National Center for Human Genome Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States starting from 1988. Largely due to his disagreement with his boss, Bernadine Healy, over the issue of patenting genes, he was forced to resign in 1992. He was replaced by Francis Collins in April 1993, and the name of the Center was changed to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in 1997. The $3-billion project was formally founded in 1990 by the United States Department of Energy and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and was expected to take 15 years. In addition to the United States, the international consortium comprised geneticists in China, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Due to widespread international cooperation and advances in the field of genomics (especially in sequence analysis), as well as major advances in computing technology, a 'rough draft' of the genome was finished in 2000 (announced jointly by then US president Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on June 26, 2000).[4] Ongoing sequencing led to the announcement of the essentially complete genome in April 2003, 2 years earlier than planned.[5] In May 2006, another milestone was passed on the way to completion of the project, when the sequence of the last chromosome was published in the journal Nature.[6] There are multiple definitions of the "complete sequence of the human genome". According to some of these definitions, the genome has already been completely sequenced, and according to other definitions, the genome has yet to be completely sequenced. There have been multiple popular press articles reporting that the genome was "complete." The genome has been completely sequenced using the definition employed by the International Human Genome Project. A graphical history of the human genome project shows that most of the human genome was complete by the end of 2003....
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