Two-thirds of Human Genome Given to Researchers Worldwide
The Sanger Centre team and their research colleagues from around the world have today announced that they have sequenced two billion 'letters' of human DNA. The sequence is deposited in public databases and is being used daily by researchers worldwide in the quest to understand human disease.
The two billionth 'letter', or base, was deposited by the Wellcome Trust's Sanger Centre. The base was a 'T', the abbreviation for thymine, one of the four bases that make up DNA. The 2,178,076,000 unique bases now in the public database have been mapped to their locations on the 23 pairs of human chromosomes. Human DNA contains about three billion bases.
The Sanger Centre is the major UK contribution to the Human Genome Project, an international collaboration between researchers in the US, Japan, France, Germany and China. The Wellcome Trust - the world's largest medical research charity - is funding the UK contribution to the Human Genome Project.
"Public access to the data is something that the consortium take very seriously. We make our data available on publicly accessible databases within 24 hours of the time that an assembly of 1000-2000 base pairs is obtained. Today's announcement means that there are now two billion base pairs of important sequence data in the public domain without fees, patents, licences or limitations on use."
Dr Michael Morgan, Chief Executive of the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus
"This tremendous achievement is a ringing endorsement of the faith expressed in the accord signed recently by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton on the value of the Human Genome Project. This sequence is already working hard to benefit humanity."
Dr John Sulston, Director of the Sanger Centre
"It's good news that we're moving so fast but it's even better news that researchers throughout the world are using this data now to investigate the genetic underpinnings of health and diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to diabetes."
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the US National Institutes of Health's Human Genome Research Institute
There are 23 pairs of chromosomes in the human genome. Each chromosome consists of a single linear molecule of DNA, which carries a string of four chemical bases represented by the letters A (adenine), T(thymine), G (guanine) and C(cytosine). It is the order, or 'sequence', and context of these bases that determines how our bodies are made, and our predisposition to certain diseases. The Human Genome Project is firmly on course to produce the working draft for the entire human genome this spring with the UK team being responsible for sequencing one third of the genome.
"Today's announcement marks an important first in improving our knowledge of the DNA sequences that make us human - this is an exciting landmark that has far-reaching implications. It is a splendid achievement that will help doctors around the world in their quest to cure disease and advance knowledge. It will change the way in which diseases and other medical conditions are diagnosed and treated in future."
Dr Michael Morgan