Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
Human Genome News, October-December 1996; 8:(2)
Much of the October 25, 1996, issue of Science is devoted to the human genome. Following are selected highlights from this annual "Genome Issue" edited by Barbara Jasny.
New Gene Map. The magazine's centerpiece is the first version of the new transcript map of the human genome pinpointing over 16,000 gene locations, more than tripling the total number of genes mapped by 1994. The international mapping consortium observed that "the gene map unifies existing genetic and physical maps with nucleotide and protein sequence databases in a fashion that should speed the discovery of genes underlying inherited human disease." The map is in a fold-out chart with accompanying article in Science, and it is available on the Web (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/SCIENCE96).
Rising to the Occasion: Yeast Genome Analysis and Functional Biology. In the article "Life with 6000 Genes," A. Goffeau (Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium) discusses early analysis of the complete Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome. The sequence was completed last year in an international effort involving about 600 scientists in Europe, North America, and Japan. Goffeau also explains the excellent potential this organism represents for functional-analysis studies of a eukaryotic genome. This work will be aided, he notes, by the availability of "very efficient techniques . . . that permit any of the 6000 genes to be replaced with a mutant allele, or completely deleted from the genome, with absolute accuracy."
Have You Ever Wanted to Play With a Genome? This is a user-friendly guide to yeast databases on the Web (http://www.sciencemag.org/science/feature/data/genomebase.htm).
How Soon Should Sequence Data Be Released? In the "Policy Forums" section, an article by David R. Bentley (Sanger Centre) argues for release "directly upon completion . . . with an earlier prerelease of unfinished sequence and additional mapping information." Taking the opposing view, Mark D. Adams and J. Craig Venter (The Institute for Genomic Research) argue that data generated by lengthy sequencing projects should be made available only when "they have passed a series of rigorous quality-control checks and have been - annotated."
Global Genomics. In "The New Genomics: Global Views of Biology," Eric Lander (MIT Whitehead Institute) proposes goals for the next phase of genomics: using genome project data to study gene function. Lander's goals focus on developing infrastructure, - inventories, and technologies. Comparing genome data to the periodic table, Lander explains that the information will offer biologists "not 100 elements, but 100,000 genes; not a rectangle - reflecting electron valences, but a tree structure depicting ancestral and functional affinities among the human genes," enabling genome-wide questions for a global perspective of the cell.
The Genome Project's Conscience. A "News & Comment" article discusses some aspects of the Human Genome Project's ethical, legal, and social component, deemed "the world's biggest bioethics program." A portion of the article focuses on preliminary findings related to wide-scale genetic screening for cystic fibrosis.
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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v8n2).
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