human genome project

Tom Chappell t.chappell at ucl.ac.uk
Tue Feb 25 10:20:26 EST 1997


In article <wgallin.1207220056C at news.srv.ualberta.ca>,
wgallin at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca (Warren Gallin) wrote:

>In Article <ue5TUBAythEzIw5b at pjmaybe.demon.co.uk>, Katherine Bird
><Birdy at pjmaybe.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>>I'm reading up for an tutorial essay I'm doing entitled 'What is the
>>point of mapping the human genome?' but everything I read is heavily
>>biased in favour of the project.  Does anyone have any views to the
>>contrary?  Could it possibly be a huge waste of time and money?
>>Birdy - budding biologist
>
>Although there was a fairly strong resistance to the genome sequencing
>project at the outset, that mainly had to do with a feeling that such a
>large project would distort funding and research priorities; I don't think I
>ever saw a claim that it would be a useless waste of time.
>    Maybe everything you see is in favor because it is a really good idea,
>not becasue it is biased.  Would you say that most of the goegraphy books
>you see are biased in favor of the idea of a round earth?
>Warren Gallin
>Department of Biological Sciences
>University of Alberta
>Edmonton,  Alberta     T6G 2E9
>Canada
>wgallin at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca

If we differentiate between "mapping" and "sequencing" (they are different
things), one could make the argument that, in terms of the benefit to
overall human health, the most valuable 3 billion bases of sequence to
obtain are not necessarily those of the human genome. The unsequenced
genomes of the 50 most pathogenic organisms, as judged by the number of
humans killed or seriously disabled in the last 10 years, would probably
be less sequencing than doing the whole human genome.

It's harder to make an argument against mapping and sequencing regions of
the human genome. 

Tom Chappell
MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology




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