20th Anniversary of Landmark Human Genome Project

Anniversary XX: The Landmark Human Genome Project

Twenty years ago, The Human Genome Project or HGP was an international interdisciplinary scientific research project launched in February of 2001 with the main goal of learning the genetic basis of human disease. By sequencing the DNA of living humans, researchers hope to determine the role of genetics in diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Much of this research relies on genetic technology, which was used in the Human Genome Project to generate the first ever complete genetic map of human DNA. Although much of the research remains confidential, much of it has been published in leading journals and scientific publications worldwide. Part of the motivation for the Human Genome Project was to determine the basis of hereditary diseases and their risk factors, as well as how specific genes affect different diseases and traits.

In addition, by sequencing the entire genome, researchers hope to better understand human evolution and the roles of natural selection. Because of the importance of this project to humanity, there are now many projects funded on the HGP, allowing scientists to get closer to the answers to these and other important questions. In February of 2021, the Human Genome Project took another step forward with the issuance of a protocol on Sharing of Data and Methods for DNA Sequence Analysis. This formalized policy establishes that all human genome studies will abide by strict standards of disclosure and will be reported only to those involved in the study, such as research foundations and clinical centers.

In order for the Human Genome Project to be effective, several international collaborations had to be coordinated. For example, the U.S. National Institute of Health had to collaborate with several international groups, including the Wellcome Institute, U.K. The Japanese National Science Museum also had to collaborate with the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Other international collaborations involved collaborations between the U.S. and Japan, involving millions of DNA samples from a variety of human beings. The sequencing of DNA from living people was necessary to perform the experiments needed to answer questions about the human genome project. 

The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium has forever changed biomedical research. It has been committed to rapid data sharing, fostering a new culture that promoted science. In later phases, development of new DNA sequencing technologies and the resulting reductions in cost of DNA sequencing has enabled genome sequencing to become a widespread research and clinical tool.

Recently, Bob Waterston, M.D., Ph.D., former director of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center, and Jane Rogers, Ph.D., former head of sequencing at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, chatted with NHGRI staff about their experiences leading two of the major HGP genome sequencing centers and contributing to the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium’s publication in Nature. “It provided a view of the whole landscape for the first time,” Bob Waterston said about the draft human genome sequence. “I can remember looking at sequence coming off the machines and popping it up on my computer and thinking this is four million years in the making and I’m the first person to look at it . . . to be reading our genome and have it all there . . . was spectacular.” Regarding the initial examination of the newly generated human genome sequence, Jane Rogers said she was “impressed at how many analyses could be done with the draft sequence. It really was quite amazing to come up with what we did [and to] have the global view and also to have tools that began to allow you to access different parts of the genome — and to be able to view it at different levels on a whole genome scale down to the individual sequence data.”

Finally, it has not escaped our notice that the more we learn about the human genome, the more there is to explore.” Undoubtedly, the ever-growing field of genomics, which is truly the legacy of the HGP, will continue to offer up enticing scientific mysteries to be explored in the decades ahead.

The field of DNA sequencing and genomic understanding continues to grow. This has allowed for the common person to have access to genetic testing.

What does this mean for you?

Genetic testing can further the information on the genes you or a loved one carry. Research shows that genetic testing can help your provider recommend more precise treatment options. Genetic testing can also help you determine whether you (or your loved one) are at an increased risk for hereditary diseases and how to improve the prognosis.

Vita Medical Solutions is proud to partner with laboratories to facilitate access to advanced  genetic testing.

Our Vision: To provide all individuals with genetic testing options (Test.), facilitate understanding of personal genetics (Know.), accelerate learning and interpretation of personal genetics (Educate.), create actionable implementation of genetic knowledge (Advocate.). 

Our ultimate goal or Mission is to make personalized medicine accessible for every person and their family, and we plan to accomplish this goal through our vision, Test. Know. Educate. Advocate.

Ready to join us on our Mission? Learn more about your personal and family genetic makeup and personalized medicine options through our genetic test offerings. These include:

Hereditary Cancer Screening (CGx)
Hereditary Cardiac Screening (CARx)
Diabetes-Obesity Screening
Pharmacogenomics (PGx)
More Coming Soon!

Even better news, with qualifying insurance, this test can cost you nothing out of pocket. Click here to schedule a call with one of Vita Medical’s Patient Services Consultants to find out your eligibility.

Call us 1.800.590.9292 (toll free) or email at [email protected]

Test. Know. Educate. Advocate.

Read full article here: https://www.genome.gov/about-nhgri/Director/genomics-landscape/Feb-12-2021-twenty-year-anniversary-of-draft-human-genome-sequence-publications