The human genome: twenty years later

Genetic telescope

The project “human Genome” is sometimes called the most successful international scientific collaboration in history. However, at the start of the unanimous optimism of the scientific community has not felt the training was accompanied by public debate and a devastating article, the authors arguedthat to read the DNA sequence of the human and taxpayers ‘ money should be spent on something more useful.

Although a purely technical opportunity to sequence the genome was shown in the 70-ies, when it was decoded the first genome of the virus, the man thought at once. According to legend, this idea took shape thanks to the biologist Robert Sinsheimer University of California, Santa Cruz. His fellow astronomers worked on the creation of the largest (at the time) ground-based telescope, and Sinsheimer pondering over a project of such scale in biology.

In 1985 he collected some leading geneticists to discuss the draft sequencing of the human genome. The team came to the conclusion that the idea is tempting, but not feasible. By the time was not even decoded the genome of Escherichia coli with a size of “only” five million pairs of nucleotides, and the maximum length of nucleotide sequence that could be read at a time by the method of Sanger, was a few hundred nucleotides.

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