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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, October-December 1996; 8:(2)

Ramping Up for Production Sequencing

The year 1996 marked an early transition to the third and final phase of the U.S. Human Genome Project as pilot programs aimed at refining large-scale sequencing strategies and resources were funded by DOE and NIH. In October, DOE funded two projects for 2 years to test the feasibility, cost, and technological requirements for implementing an end-sequencing strategy using BAC and PAC clones [HGN 8(1), 8]; see ( /95bac.html#bac). Earlier in the year, NIH awarded 3-year grants to six pilot large-scale sequencing projects [HGN 7(6), 20].

Until this year, the Human Genome Project focused on creating such resources as physical and genetic maps, software, and automated technologies to enable implementation of cost-effective, large-scale sequencing. The ultimate goals of the Human Genome Project, scheduled for completion in 2005, are to sequence all human DNA and identify every gene. To date, close to 1% of the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome have been sequenced.

Internationally, large-scale human genome sequencing was kicked off in late 1995 when the Wellcome Trust announced a 7-year, $75-million grant to the Sanger Centre to ramp up its sequencing capabilities. French investigators have also announced intentions to begin production sequencing.

Discussions in the genome research community now focus on the significant challenges presented by large-scale sequencing. Most major laboratories use a combination of random and directed strategies with fluorescent-based, four-color chemistries. The general consensus is for generating very high quality data, with less than 1 error in 10,000 bases, or 99.99% accuracy. Most funding agencies and researchers agree that rapid and free release of the data is critical. Other issues include the types of annotation that will be most useful to biologists and how to maintain the reference sequence.

HUGO Web Site

HUGO has created a Web page (url no longer available) to provide information on current and future sequencing projects and links to sites of participating groups. (E-mail to to add a project or request information.) The site also links to a list of resources developed by participants at the February 1996 international meeting on human genome sequencing sponsored by the Wellcome Trust.

[HGMIS staff]

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v8n2).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.