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Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center marks end of sequencing effort with chromosome 3

Efforts now directed a understanding genetic causes of disease

The sequencing of human chromosome 3 announced in the current issue of the journal Nature represents a milestone for the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center – the final stage of its multi-year project to sequence the human genome.

Researchers at the BCM genome sequencing center in Houston are now using the information to discover the genetic basis for human disease, said Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the BCM center and Dr. George Weinstock, co-director.

Sequencing chromosome 3 was also an international collaboration among teams from the United States (including Baylor College of Medicine in Houston), Germany and The People’s Republic of China.

The lead author of the paper was BCM scientist Donna Muzny, but she and Dr. Steven Scherer, associate professor in the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center, credit Dr. Huanming Yang and the Chinese sequencing group with playing a critical role in the effort. His group determined the DNA sequence of a portion of the chromosome and characterized important elements that regulate how the DNA is translated into proteins critical to the functioning of the cell.

Yang, of the Beijing Genomes Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues also played host to an international sequencing consortium strategy meeting in 2001.

"Human genome sequencing presented a unique opportunity for China to join the international community. I salute all our friends and colleagues at the collaborating institutions for their contributions to this task and for their support of free data-sharing under the spirit of the Human Genome Project that is ’owned by all, done by all and shared by all," said Yang

"This work represents many years of collaborative effort and defines human chromosome 3 using state-of-the-art sequence quality and extraordinarily detailed manual annotation," said Gibbs.

The BCM Sequencing Center produced the sequences of chromosomes 3, 12 and X – about 10 percent of the human gene. (The sequences of the other two chromosomes appeared in earlier reports in Nature.)

"Over the more than a decade that this work continued, more than 700 researchers working an equal number at collaborating institutions painstakingly determined the exact order of genetic letter sin the human genetic doe and how they spell out the genes of mankind," said Weinstock.

Sequencing chromosome 3, which contained 199 million bases (or chemicals that are the building blocks of DNA), also involved scientists from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the University of Washington Genome Center and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin.

Ross Tomlin | EurekAlert!
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