Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
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DOE '99 Oakland Highlights
In the News
Web, Other Resources, Publications
A team headed by Douglas Smith (Genome Therapeutics, GTC) has finished sequencing the 4.1-Mb genome of Clostridium acetobutylicum and has placed the data in GenBank and on the Web.
C. acetobutylicum, a nonpathogenic microbe that can convert starch into the solvents acetone and butanol, enjoys an unusual place in history. Discovered in 1915 by Chaim Weizmann, the microbe was used by Great Britain during World War I for generating acetone to produce cordite for artillery shells. In gratitude, the government offered to honor Weizmann, but he asked instead for British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This led to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, committing Britain to sanction what became in 1948 the state of Israel, with Weizmann as its first president.
GTC previously sequenced Methanococcus thermoautotrophicum, one of the first three microbes (along with Pyrococcus furiosus and M. jannaschii) targeted by the DOE Microbial Genome Program (MGP). As of September, ten microbial genomes had been sequenced completely with the support of MGP (www.er.doe.gov/production/ober/microbial.html).
The growing body of microbial sequences, accumulating rapidly in public databases, has advanced the field of comparative genomics and is leading to new insights into how genomes change over time. Scientists also are learning how microbes cause disease and contribute to natural environmental and biological processes. Studies may suggest ways to harness microbes' abilities for bioremediation, production of industrial chemicals and enzymes, development of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, and many other uses.
Gene Locator and Interpolated Markov Modeler (Glimmer) finds genes quickly in microbial DNA, especially bacterial and archaeal genomes, by identifying and distinguishing coding from noncoding DNA regions. Glimmer is the primary gene finder at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), where it has been used to annotate the complete genomes of both TIGR and non-TIGR projects. The home page contains statistics on Glimmer's accuracy (http://www.tigr.org/software/glimmer/).
The Sanger Centre has announced the completion of the genome sequence of the 2.23-Mb Neisseria meningitidis serogroupA strain Z2491 (www.sanger.ac.uk/Projects/N_meningitidis).
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Last modified: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
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