The Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed in 2003. An important aspect of the project was functional and comparative genomics. This page details that research.
Understanding the function of genes and other parts of the genome is known as functional genomics. Sequencing the genome was just the first step in understanding humans at the molecular level. Though the sequencing phase of the project is complete, work is ongoing to determine the function of many human genes.
Efficient interpretation of the functions of human genes and other DNA sequences requires that resources and strategies be developed to enable large-scale investigations across whole genomes. A technically challenging first priority is to generate complete sets of full-length cDNA clones and sequences for human and model-organism genes. Other functional-genomics goals include studies into gene expression and control, creation of mutations that cause loss or alteration of function in nonhuman organisms, and development of experimental and computational methods for protein analyses.
The functions of human genes and other DNA regions often are revealed by studying their parallels in nonhumans. To enable such comparisons, HGP researchers have obtained complete genomic sequences for the bacterium Escherichia coli, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, the laboratory mouse, and many other organisms. The availability of complete genome sequences generated both inside and outside the HGP is driving a major breakthrough in fundamental biology as scientists compare entire genomes to gain new insights into evolutionary, biochemical, genetic, metabolic, and physiological pathways.
Comparative Genomics Goals
Completion Dates of All Functional & Comparative Genomics Goals
|Area||HGP Goal||Standard Achieved||Date Achieved|
|Gene Identification||Full-length human cDNAs||15,000 full-length human cDNAs||March 2003|
|Model Organisms||Complete genome sequences of
E. coli, S. cerevisiae, C. elegans, D. melanogaster
|Finished genome sequences of E. coli, S. cerevisiae, C. elegans, D. melanogaster, plus whole-genome drafts of several others, including C. briggsae, D. pseudoobscura, mouse, and rat||April 2003|
|Functional Analysis||Develop genomic-scale technologies||High-throughput oligonucleotide synthesis||1994|
|Eukaryotic, whole-genome knockouts (yeast)||
|Scale-up of two-hybrid system for protein-protein interaction||2002|
Text adapted from F. Collins, Ari Patrinos, et al., "New Goals for the U.S. Human Genome Project: 1998-2003," Science 282: 682-689 (1998). See HGP Goals for more details.
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.
Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.