Human Genome Project is one of the most enterprising
and challenging aspects of modern genetic research.
Funded primarily by the US Government, this project
was created to map and sequence the entire human genome--that
is, to locate every gene on every human chromosome.
Although this may sound rather basic, the enormity
of it emerges when one realizes just how lengthy the
human genome actually is. It is estimated that anywhere
from 100,000 to 300,000 genes exist! And scientists
not only plan to map the genes, but also intend to
sequence the 3 billion DNA amino acid “building blocks”
that make each gene! It would take thirteen full-volumed
encyclopedia sets or 200 Manhattan phone books to
equal the amount of genetic information the project
scientists plan to organize. It is, therefore, easy
to understand why this is a national effort.
Francis Crick elucidated the structure of DNA with James Watson in 1953 (see Watson JD, Crick FHC (1953) Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acis. Nature 171:737-738 and the follow up article in May the same year Watson JD, Crick FHC (1953) Genetical
Implications of the Structure of deoxyribonucleic acid. Nature 171 964-964). The Department of Energy is also involved along with foreign countries as
research and money come from Japan, the United Kingdom,
and and other technologically advanced nations. Research
and data storage laboratories called Genome Centers are
scattered throughout the US from Berkeley, California
to Los Alamos. Many colleges and universities are also
involved including Stanford University, Baylor College
of Medicine, Washington University, and the Universities
of Utah, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A gene is a segment of