The leaders of the Human Genome Project (HGP) met in Paris last week to discuss strategies for finishing off the 'rough draft' of the human genome sequence completed in June, reports last week's Nature. Only 25 per cent of the DNA sequence that makes up the human genetic information is currently in an accurate, fully assembled form. Francis Collins, head of the publicly-funded project, said that scientists will try to ensure that no part of the sequence lags behind and that none are duplicated.
Meanwhile, US firm Celera Genomics, which lead the private effort to sequence the human genome, announced last week it has identified 2.8 million DNA variations in the human genome. Known as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), these single 'letter' differences in the human genetic code underlie differences in our response to medicines, and our risk of developing many common illnesses.
Earlier this month, a public-private SNP consortium announced it had found 800,000 SNPs, of which 400,000 have also been found by Celera. The consortium has made its information freely available on public databases, while the SNPs identified by Celera are only available to the company's subscribers.
The Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics plan to jointly publish their human genome sequence later this year, a spokesperson for the HGP said last week.
Sources and References
Genome summit will plot best path to finish
Gene project yielding breakthroughs
Mapping tiny differences