The Project Notebook

Projects to Watch: New Human Genome Project

The original human genome project was incredible. I’ve had several students profile it as part of a class assignment. It launched as an international effort in 1988 and in 13 years, the entire human genome and 25,000 genes were identified and mapped. The original project was to last 15 years and cost the US alone $3B. The project finished two years early and saved $.3B. The project was funded by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.

According to web site Insider Medicine (, “Researchers from three continents have come together to map the genomes of 1,000 people in a project that they hope will help determine the genetic roots for disease. Researchers have previously catalogued dozens of specific regions of variation in the human genome and linked them with common diseases, but these DNA maps are not highly detailed. This new project promises to examine the human genome in detail that has never before been attempted.”

Even as this project gets underway, our attention to required innculations is declining, according to the Center for Disease Control. This makes the results of the proposed new genome project more important as we neglect old diseases and aren’t always sufficiently aggressive about finding cures for newer ones. This will be an important project to watch which will hopefully be as well managed and as productive as the original Human Genome project.

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