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Human Genome News Archive Edition
  Vol.10, No.1-2   February 1999
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Chlamydia Genome Offers Surprises

Stimulates New Research into Treatment of Major STD, Prevention of Blindness

Analysis of the 1-Mb genome of Chlamydia trachomatis has revealed some unexpected biology for the tiny organism. C. trachomatis is responsible for causing the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States as well as trachoma, a major cause of blindness in Asia and Africa. A collaboration among scientists at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University, the study was reported in the genome issue of Science (October 23, 1998).

Of 18 fully sequenced bacterial genomes, Chlamydia is the only obligate intracellular parasite, growing exclusively within eukaryotic cells and requiring host enzymes and cellular machinery for several necessary functions. Researchers were surprised to learn that it harbors genes that could allow it to generate its own energy-storage molecule, ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

Another new finding explained why Chlamydia is vulnerable to penicillin. Although Chlamydia was thought to lack peptidoglycan, a vital bacterial cell-wall component and the antibiotic's major target, scientists have identified the genes for synthesizing this molecule. Other genes found for new surface proteins may be important for future vaccine development, possibly by using the gene sequence itself instead of the protein to stimulate an immune response. Data are available on the Chlamydia Genome Project Web site

The project is focusing now on sequencing the genome of the organism C. pneumoniae, which causes a mild pneumonia and also may contribute to the development of atherosclerotic lesions. This project is funded by the genome data company Incyte Pharmaceuticals (Palo Alto, California), which also is sequencing human genes (p. 7). [Denise Casey, HGMIS]

The electronic form of the newsletter may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v10n1-2).

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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.