Ten years of the Human Genomics maps

Ten years have past since the publish of human genomics maps in Nature and Science magazine

  • International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium. Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome. Nature 409, 860–921 (2001).
  • Venter, J. C. et al. The sequence of the human genome. Science 291, 1304–1351 (2001).

. last issue on Nature and Science published lost of paper and news of the progress in this area.  Human Genome project(HGP) do bring the genome technology to all ares in biology and changing the research style. So many data come form the high-through put machine, its a golden age for computational biologist. See more form here:


Initial impact of the sequencing of the human genome
Eric S. Lander

On 15 February 2001, a decade ago this week, Nature published a 62-page paper entitled ‘Initial sequencing and analysis of thehuman genome’, reporting a first global look at the contents ofthe human genetic code. The paper1 marked a milestone in the inter-national Human Genome Project (HGP), a discovery programme con-ceived in the mid-1980s and launched in 1990. The same week, Science published a paper2 from the company Celera Genomics, reporting a draft human sequence based on their own prodigious data, as well as data from the public HGP.
The human genome has had a certain tendency to incite passion and excess: from early jeremiads that the HGP would strangle research by consuming the NIH budget (it never rose to more than 1.5%); to frenzied coverage of a late-breaking genome race between public and private protagonists; to a White House announcement of the draft human sequence in June 2000, 8 months before scientific papers had actually been written, peer-reviewed and published; to breathless promises from Wall Street and the press about the imminence of genetic ‘crystal balls’ and genome-based panaceas; to a front-page news story on the tenth anniversary of the announcement that chided genome scientists for not yet having cured most diseases.

The goal of this review is to step back and assess the fruits of the HGP from a scientific standpoint, addressing three questions: what have we learned about the human genome itself over the past decade? How has the human sequence propelled our understanding of human biology, medicine, evolution and history? What is the road ahead?

The past decade has shown the power of genomic maps and catalogues for biomedical research. By providing a comprehensive scaffold, the human sequence has made it possible for scientists to assemble often fragmentary information into landscapes of biological structure and function: maps of evolutionary conservation, gene transcription, chromatin structure, methylation patterns, genetic variation, recombinational distance, linkage disequilibrium, association to inherited diseases, genetic alterations in cancer, selective sweeps during human history and three-dimensional organization in the nucleus. By providing a framework to cross-reference information across species, it has connected the biology of model systems to the physiology of the human. Furthermore, by providing comprehensive catalogues of genomic information, it has enabled genes and proteins to be recognized based on unique ‘tags’—allowing, for example, RNA transcripts to be assayed with arrays of oligonucleotide probes and proteins by detection of short peptide fragments in a mass spectrometer. In turn, these measurements have been used to construct ‘cellular signatures’ characteristic of specific cell types, states and responses, and catalogues of the contents of organelles such as the mitochondria.

The intensity of interest can be seen in the 2.5 million queries per week on the major genome data servers and in the flowering of a rich field of computational biology. The greatest impact of genomics has been the ability to investigate biological phenomena in a comprehensive, unbiased, hypothesis-free manner. In basic biology, it has reshaped our view of genome physiology, including the roles of protein-coding genes, non-coding RNAs and regulatory sequences.

In medicine, genomics has provided the first systematic approaches to discover the genes and cellular pathways underlying disease. Whereas candidate gene studies yielded slow progress, comprehensive approaches have resulted in the identification of ,2,850 genes underlying rare Mendelian diseases, ,1,100 loci affecting common polygenic disorders and ,150 new recurrent targets of somatic mutation in cancer. These
discoveries are propelling research throughout academia and industry.

The following sections contain only a small number of citations due to space limitations; a more extensive bibliography tied to each section can be found as Supplementary Information.

Author: Y. Cun

Computational biologist