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Vol.12, Nos.1-2   February 2002

TIGR Sequencing Anthrax Used in Florida Attack

The National Science Foundation is funding The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) to sequence to 8 X coverage the genome of the Bacillus anthracis strain used in last falls attack on a Florida publishing company. TIGR previously sequenced the genome of a more common strain of B. anthracis. Sequence comparisons may help pinpoint the Florida strain’s source and determine whether its genome had been manipulated to increase its virulence.

In a commentary that appeared in Nature on October 22, 2001, TIGR President Claire Fraser acknowledged the rising concern over the potential misuse of genomic advances for attacking humans and their staple crops or livestock. She urged biologists to discuss the implications of their work in this context and to play a role in generating effective deterrence strategies.

Data and technologies generated in the biology revolution have the potential to be misused by terrorists, but the same breakthroughs may be used to design countermeasures, she pointed out. Genomic progress can counter biological agents in ways that include rapid detection, identification of new vaccine targets, and the design of novel antimicrobial compounds.

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v12n1-2).

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.