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Human Genome News Archive Edition
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Vol.10, No.3-4   October 1999 

In this issue...

Available in PDF

DOE '99 Oakland Highlights

Genome Project

In the News 

Microbial Genomics

Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues


Web, Other Resources, Publications


Meeting Calendars & Acronyms

  • Genome and Biotech Meeting 
  • Training Courses and Workshops 
  • Acronyms

HGN archives and subscriptions

Human Genome Project Information home

Microbial Genomics

Genome of Historic Microbe Sequenced

A team headed by Douglas Smith (Genome Therapeutics, GTC) has finished sequencing the 4.1-Mb genome of Clostridium acetobutylicum and has placed the data in GenBank and on the Web.

C. acetobutylicum, a nonpathogenic microbe that can convert starch into the solvents acetone and butanol, enjoys an unusual place in history. Discovered in 1915 by Chaim Weizmann, the microbe was used by Great Britain during World War I for generating acetone to produce cordite for artillery shells. In gratitude, the government offered to honor Weizmann, but he asked instead for British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This led to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, committing Britain to sanction what became in 1948 the state of Israel, with Weizmann as its first president.

GTC previously sequenced Methanococcus thermoautotrophicum, one of the first three microbes (along with Pyrococcus furiosus and M. jannaschii) targeted by the DOE Microbial Genome Program (MGP). As of September, ten microbial genomes had been sequenced completely with the support of MGP (http://microbialgenomics.energy.gov/index.shtml).

The growing body of microbial sequences, accumulating rapidly in public databases, has advanced the field of comparative genomics and is leading to new insights into how genomes change over time. Scientists also are learning how microbes cause disease and contribute to natural environmental and biological processes. Studies may suggest ways to harness microbes' abilities for bioremediation, production of industrial chemicals and enzymes, development of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, and many other uses.

Microbial Gene Finder

Gene Locator and Interpolated Markov Modeler (Glimmer) finds genes quickly in microbial DNA, especially bacterial and archaeal genomes, by identifying and distinguishing coding from noncoding DNA regions. Glimmer is the primary gene finder at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), where it has been used to annotate the complete genomes of both TIGR and non-TIGR projects. The home page contains statistics on Glimmer's accuracy (http://www.tigr.org/software/glimmer/).

Neisseria Sequence

The Sanger Centre has announced the completion of the genome sequence of the 2.23-Mb Neisseria meningitidis serogroupA strain Z2491 (http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Projects/N_meningitidis/).

The electronic form of the newsletter may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v10n3-4).

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.