History of the Human Genome
The Human Genome Project (HGP) refers to the international 13-year effort,
formally begun in October 1990 and completed in 2003, to discover all
the estimated 20,000-25,000 human genes and make them accessible for further
biological study. Another project goal was to determine the complete sequence
of the 3 billion DNA subunits (bases in the human genome). As part of
the HGP, parallel studies were carried out on selected model organisms
such as the bacterium E. coli and the mouse to help develop the
technology and interpret human gene function. The DOE Human Genome Program
and the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) together
sponsored the U.S. Human Genome Project.
History of the Project
Publications Summarizing Various Aspects of the Project
- Special issue of Nature Human
Genome Collection (2006)
- Special issue of Science: Building
on the DNA Revolution (April 11, 2003)
Human Genome Project: Lessons from Large-Scale Biology,"
Francis S. Collins, Michael Morgan, Aristides Patrinos, Science
300, 286 (2003)
the Potential of the Genome Revolution: The Genomes to Life
Program," Marvin E. Frazier, Gary M. Johnson, David
G. Thomassen, Carl E. Oliver, Aristides Patrinos, Science
300, 290 (2003)
Genetics: A 10-Year Retrospective 1992-2002 (vol. 33, March
From the Start --Science article summarizing the history
of the HGP (February 2001)
15 Years Later--A perspective from Charles DeLisi, HGP Pioneer
Human Genome Program Report contains history of the Project
Conference Data Release Policies (1997, 1996). See also, NHGRI Policy Regarding Intellectual Property of Human Genomic Sequence (April 1996).
- NCHGR-DOE Guidance
on Human Subjects Issues in Large-Scale DNA Sequencing (1996)
- Special Anniversary Issue of Human
Genome News (7(3-4); Sept.-Dec. 1995) Summarizing the History
and Progress of the Project
of the Human Genome Project," by Robert Cook-Deegan (1994; Risk
the Genome: The Vision, the Science, the Implementation; What is
the Genome Project? [Article from Los Alamos Science.
A round table discussion with David Baltimore, David Botstein, David
R. Cox, David J. Galas, Leroy Hood, Robert K. Moyzis, Maynard V.
Olson, Nancy S. Wexler, and Norton D. Ziner] Los Alamos (National
Laboratory) Science 20, 1992.
- History of the Department of Energy
Human Genome Program adapted from the U.S. DOE 1991-92 Human
Genome Program Report (published June 1992)
- Data Sharing Policy: (1992) A U.S. Department
of Energy and National Institutes of Health Coordinated Effort
- Understanding our Genetic Inheritance. The U.S. Human Genome Project: The First Five Years FY 1991-1995. Report DOE/ER-0452P. (published April 1990)
- "Orchestrating the Human Genome Project," by Charles
Cantor, Science 248, April 1990
- "The Human Genome Project: Past, Present, and Future"
by J.D. Watson, Science 248, April 1990
- "The Department of Energy (DOE) Human Genome Initiative,"
Benjamin J. Barnhart, Genomics 5, 657 (1989).
- "The (May 1985) Santa Cruz Workshop," R.L. Sinsheimer, Genomics 5, 954 (1989).
Our Genes: Genome Projects --How Big? How Fast? 1988 report
from the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment
and Sequencing the Human Genome, report from the National Research
Council Commission on Life Sciences, National Academy Press, Washington,
- The Genome Project, Dec. 13, 1987, NYT Magazine article
- Report on the Human Genome Initiative
for the Office of Health and Environmental Research: April
1987 report that officially outlined the Department of Energy's
strategies for the Human Genome Project
- Summary Report of
the 1986 Santa Fe Workshop, "Sequencing the Human Genome",
Bitensky, M.; Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM. See
Meetings that changed the world: Santa Fe 1986 , (Oct.
- "The Alta Summit, December 1984,"
by Robert Cook-Deegan, Genomics 5, 661-663 (published
October 1989): The beginning of the Human Genome Project.
- Human Genome News (HGN)
newsletter on the Human Genome Project. All published issues (since
1989) are available. See also the archive of HGN History
and Project Management articles.
- DOE HGP Reports
and Workshop Abstracts report on program research.
- More publications
Project Enabling Legislation
- The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (P.L. 79-585) provided
the initial charter for a comprehensive program of research and
development related to the utilization of fissionable and radioactive
materials for medical, biological, and health purposes.
- The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (P.L. 83-706) further
authorized the AEC "to conduct research on the biologic effects
of ionizing radiation."
- The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-438)
provided that responsibilities of the Energy Research and Development
Administration (ERDA) shall include "engaging in and supporting
environmental, biomedical, physical, and safety research related
to the development of energy resources and utilization technologies."
- The Federal Non-nuclear Energy Research and Development
Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-577) authorized ERDA to conduct a
comprehensive non-nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration
program to include the environmental and social consequences of
the various technologies.
- The DOE Organization Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-91)
mandated the Department "to assure incorporation of national environmental
protection goals in the formulation and implementation of energy
programs; and to advance the goal of restoring, protecting, and
enhancing environmental quality, and assuring public health and
safety," and to conduct "a comprehensive program of research and
development on the environmental effects of energy technology and
- List of institutions where
much of the U.S.-funded research was done.