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Vol.11, No. 3-4   July 2001

From DNA Sequences to Living Systems

Genomes to Life, Microbial Cell Project Complementary New DOE Programs Explore Critical Life Processes

The complete DNA sequences for organisms ranging from humans to mice and microbes are presenting an even greater scientific challenge to understand how life's component parts function together and are influenced by environmental factors in creating and operating dynamic living systems. DOE, a key player in the genomics revolution, is poised to make important contributions to this next grand scientific quest through the Microbial Cell Project (MCP) and the proposed Genomes to Life (GTL) program.

The MCP takes a whole-genome approach to understanding the function and regulation of all genes for a single living system and the pathways in which the protein products interact. The MCP will play a leading role in GTL, DOE's major new undertaking.

The GTL will build on previous Office of Science research that includes the Human Genome Program and the Microbial Genome Program initiated in 1994. The plan for GTL is to use DNA sequences from both microbes and higher organisms, including humans, to systematically tackle questions about essential life processes conserved across species. Advanced technological and computational resources tested and modeled in the MCP will be used to identify and understand the underlying mechanisms that enable organisms to function in diverse environmental conditions.

In a sense, the MCP is advance reconnaissance for GTL, and the two programs are and will remain closely entwined.

Both GTL and the MCP contribute toward the shifting of biology to a more quantitative science, involving the collection, integration, and dissemination of diverse data and the development of appropriate tools. The two programs will formulate more high-throughput methodologies for simultaneously studying many components of living systems.

The extraordinary applications of this holistic approach will help DOE fulfill its broad missions in energy, environmental remediation, and protection of human health. [For more details on GTL, see color centerfold and https://genomicscience.energy.gov/; for information on MCP, see article, and http://microbialgenomics.energy.gov/MicrobialCellProject/ .]

The electronic form of the newsletter may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v11n3-4).

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.