21 Nov 2000

Powerful model organism for genetics, development

With a genome only half the size of that of mouse or human, the zebrafish will play a key role in finding genes in the other genomes. The new project is predicted to take three years.

6 Oct 2000

Results will expedite discovery of human genes

The National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust and three private companies today announced they have formed a consortium to speed up the determination of the DNA sequence of the mouse genome. The Mouse Sequencing Consortium will provide $58 million over the next six months to decipher the mouse genetic code.

20 Jul 2000

Five-year investment to support the Ensembl project, the database providing automatic annotation of the human genome

The increased resources in staff and computer power for the gene "software" will mean a much speedier collection and dissemination of information on the function of genes, greatly aiding the work of researchers around the world in finding new diagnostic methods and treatments for a huge variety of diseases.

26 Jun 2000

Leading ethicists, geneticists, Government scientific advisors and the pharmaceutical industry give their perspectives on the effect the publication of the first draft of the human genome will have

Professor Richard Dawkins, Professo Martin Bobrow, Sir Robert May, Professor Sir David Weatherall, Steven Rose, Dr Tom Shakespeare, Professor Vivienne Nathanson, Bill Fullagar and Sir Aaron Klug, OM comment on the implications of the first draft human genome

26 Jun 2000

Genome sequencing could ultimately change the face of biology. More immediately, it is likely to change the way scientists conduct their research.

With the completion of the working draft of the human genome, the DNA letters (ACGT) that make up our 60 000-100 000 genes are in the public domain, freely accessible to all who want to interpret and exploit the sequence data.

26 Jun 2000

Chronology of selected important events in medicine and biology

For context, some non-medical events are shown.

26 Jun 2000

1990 Drs Sulston and Coulson in collaboration with Dr Waterston (Washington University, USA) began a pilot study of the genomic sequence of the round worm C. elegans ...

26 Jun 2000

Pinpointing the 'bad' genes that lead to illness, deformity or a failure to develop normally, coupled with an understanding of how they work, has been facilitated by the Human Genome Project which is identifying the entire genetic code.

Scientists, like Professor Scambler, who are interested in medical conditions that children are born with are now able to 'database mine' the publicly available sequence data from the international Human Genome Project. In effect, the researchers look through the free-of-charge data as soon as it becomes available to try to identify the genes that may play a role in certain diseases.

26 Jun 2000

One of this country's most eminent geneticists is using results coming from the human genome project to help combat muscular and nervous system disorders. She hopes that the knowledge gained will enable drugs to be developed that will compensate for defects and effectively treat these devastating diseases ...

Professor Kay Davies is head of the Department of Human Anatomy and Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. One of the disorders her group is studying is Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), one of 20 different types of muscular dystrophy. The dystrophin gene is located on the X chromosome, which is present in duplicate in women and as a single copy in men. This means that boys who inherit the disease will do so from a mother who carries one copy of the defective gene.

26 Jun 2000

Dr. Alain Hovnanian is head of the Molecular Dermatology Unit at the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics, Oxford. His team have been using the freely available DNA sequences from the Human Genome Project to identify the genes involved in three severe inherited skin disorders...

Using data from the human genome project and information from other databases, Dr Hovnanian's team identified 10 new genes and 4 known genes that were candidates for the disease gene. They then determined whether these genes were expressed in the skin and looked for mutations in those that were. To their surprise, they found that affected family members had defects in a gene that was previously known to function mainly in the heart and skeletal muscles. It turned out the protein the gene produced allows epidermal cells to maintain calcium stores, which are important for the function of desmosomes.