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Human Genome News, January-June 1997; 8:(3-4)

Early History of Small Genome Sequencing

In 1977, bacteriophage phi-x174 (5386bp) became the first organism to be sequenced completely, by Sanger and colleagues [Nature 246, 687 (1977)]. In 1982, bacteriophage lambda (48,502bp) was completed using a strategy based on sequencing random fragments of DNA, in this case produced by digesting the lambda genome with restriction enzymes, again by Sanger and colleagues [J. Mol. Biol. 162, 729 (1982)].

Thirteen years elapsed before the first nonviral organism was sequenced completely, this time using whole-genome random sequencing and assembly, called shotgun sequencing. In July1995, Fleischmann and colleagues reported the completion of Haemophilus influenzae (1,830,137bp), the first free-living organism to be sequenced [Science 269, 469 (1995)]. At the end of 1995, the complete DNA sequence of Mycoplasma genitalium (580,070bp), another free-living organism, was published by Fraser and colleagues. M. genitalium DNA encoded only 470 predicted ORFs, providing an estimate for the minimal number of genes needed to support life [Science 270, 349 (1995)].

Since 1995, complete genomic sequences have been published or made available for four more organisms: Methanococcus jannaschii, an Archaeon; Synechosystis, a cyanobacterium species; Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a eubacterium closely related to M. genitalium; and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the first eukaryotic organism to be completely sequenced.

Note: See Attendees Discuss Small Genome Sequencing Progress for more information.

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v8n3).

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.