- The human genome is a three-billion-long
sequence of jus four chemical markers The ambitious project to map all
the genes in human DNA has taken a leap forward.
- British and American scientists announced
on Monday that a "working draft" of the human genome will be
completed by February 2000. This is at least a year earlier than the previous
- Dr John Sulston: "Data plays vital
role"The working draft will list around 90% of the approximate 100,000
genes that form the blueprint for human life. The Sanger Centre in the
UK will provide one third of the data, with the rest coming from US laboratories
and some other centres world-wide.
- The earlier date has become possible
because the US centres funded by the National Institute of Health have
completed pilot projects early. The Wellcome Trust, which funds the Sanger
Centre, is to release £48m of earmarked funding early to increase
the speed of its contribution to the Human Genome Project.
- The US National Human Genome Research
Institute is awarding over $80m to three genome centres in the States to
enable the US team to fulfil their role.
- < http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/230000/video/_232608_sang_vi.ramWatch
the Sanger Centre in action
- "The Sanger Centre was working more
quickly, so it needed more equipment and staff to keep up the pace,"
a Wellcome Trust spokesperson told BBC News Online.
- Dr John Sulston, director of the Sanger
Centre, said: "At the Sanger Centre, we will be contributing our third
early next year. The scientific community want this data immediately as
it plays a vital role in understanding the very basis of life, health and
- The Sanger Centre will provide a third
of the whole human genomeThe final "high-quality" genome, with
all gaps filled and most errors corrected, is expected in 2003. Between
then and now, any new data made available is put on the Internet as soon
as it becomes available.
- Identifying the sequence of the 3 billion
chemical markers which make up the human genome will be an astonishing
achievement. But in a sense, it is only the beginning.
- The "post-genome" science will
be to work out what each of the mapped genes actually does in the body.
Scientists only understand the function of a relatively tiny fraction of
our genes at present.
- The Sanger Centre and its US counterpart,
the Genome Sequencing Centre in St Louis, Missouri, recently completed
the genetic sequence of the worm C. Elegans. It is the most complex genome
sequenced so far with 19,000 genes.