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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, July 1990; 2(2)

Mathematical Approaches to DNA

"Mathematical Approaches to DNA," the first meeting sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Program in Mathematics and Molecular Biology, was held on January 24-28 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It attracted over 120 participants, including mathematicians, computer scientists, biologists, chemists, and physicists. Topics included consideration of the mechanics of DNA motion in electrophoresis gels and algorithms for macromolecule structural sequence matching, gene identification, and identification of structural motifs predictive of function.

Dynamic programming algorithms with performances comparable to or faster than FASTA and FASTP sequence alignment software programs were discussed by Patrick Powell (University of Minnesota) and William Pearson (University of Virginia). A method using multiple alignments as opposed to single sequences, developed by Robert Jones (Thinking Machines, Inc.), permits detection of weak-sequence relationships and identification of biologically relevant sites and domains.

Work from the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) focused on (1) automatic identification of pattern characteristics for gene identification (Gwennaele Fichant), (2) analysis of phylogenetic relations in repeated DNA sequences families (Yves Quentin), and (3) mathematical problems associated with construction of ordered clone maps and incomplete restriction maps of human chromosomes (David Torney).

The program is funded by a grant from the Division of Mathematical Sciences and the Division of Biological, Behavioral, and Social Sciences of NSF. IBM provided additional funding for this meeting. (For more details, see "Mathematics Untwists the Double Helix," Science, Feb. 23, 1990, pp. 913-915.)

Title of the meeting planned for March 1991 will be "The Genome: Mathematical Analysis from DNA to Protein."

Mathematics meeting contact:

  • Sylvia J. Spengler
    (415) 643-7799

Reported by Sylvia J. Spengler, Associate Director
Program in Mathematics and Molecular Biology
University of California at Berkeley

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The electronic form of the newsletter may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v2n2).

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.