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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, November 1992; 4(4)

E-Mail Searcher Verifies Protein Sequence Homology

As an aid to detecting and verifying protein sequence homology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) has introduced the BLOCKS e-mail searcher. It compares a submitted protein or DNA sequence with a database of protein sequence blocks (short, multiply aligned, ungapped segments corresponding to the most highly conserved regions of proteins). This database was constructed by successively applying the automated PROTOMAT system to individual entries in the PROSITE catalog of protein groups that are keyed to the SWISS-PROT protein sequence databank.

Typically, members of a protein group have more than one region in common; this relationship is represented as a series of blocks separated by the unaligned regions. The concentrated form of information from multiply aligned sequences reduces background and increases sensitivity for detection of distant relationships. If a particular block scores high when a submitted DNA sequence is compared with the database, the sequence may be related to the group represented by the block.

For a detailed help file, send a blank e-mail message to with help in the subject line. A protein or DNA sequence can be transmitted in FASTA, Genepro, GenBank®, EMBL, SWISS-PROT, GCG, or PIR (DNA is automatically translated in all six reading frames for searching). This work was funded by NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Contact: Steven Henikoff; HHMI-FHCRC; 1124 Columbia St.; Seattle, WA 98104 (206/667-4515, Fax: -5889; Internet:


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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 (v4n4).

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.