This week peer-reviewed interpretations of the human genome were published in the journals Science and Nature. Researchers confirmed that they could identify about 30,000 genes in humans--compared to the widely held view that humans have 100,000 genes.
Separately authored by members of the NIH-funded International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium and Celera Genomics, the studies contain the first evidence-based overview of the human genome. In June 2000, both groups held a press conference at the White House to announce that the human genome was assembled.
In response to the recent media attention, Maynard Olson, professor of medicine and genetics and director of the UW Genome Center, has written an editorial in the advance-release Feb. 15 Nature. The human genome is to biology what the periodic chart of elements is to chemistry, according to Olson, who is also one of the Human Genome Project's founders. The recent publications offer a more evidence-driven view of genomics. Although, Olson cautions, the human genome is still a work-in-progress and not a fait accompli--there's also a tremendous gap between this advance in basic science and the clinical applications.