UC Santa Cruz Public Forum on the Human Genome

n units of DNA strung together on chromosomes--represents the complete genetic instructions for human life. Deciphering the genome has sparked a revolution in biomedical research, raising hopes for dramatic improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, but also raising concerns about how genetic information and technology will be used.

In the public forum, panelists will address the ethical, legal, and social issues associated with genome research, as well as its anticipated benefits in medicine and other areas.

Although the bulk of the work on the Human Genome Project has been performed elsewhere, researchers at UCSC played a crucial role in assembling the genome sequence, and they continue to have a major role in the ongoing analysis of the human genome.

"UC Santa Cruz scientists launched consideration of this vast project in 1985 and then, 15 years later, played a key role in the integration of the massive data banks into a coherent whole," Sinsheimer said. "The campus can be proud of its role in this historic endeavor."

The first serious push toward sequencing the human genome actually began in 1984 when Sinsheimer proposed to UC President David Gardner that an Institute to Sequence the Human Genome be established on the UCSC campus. The proposal was not funded, but Sinsheimer couldn't let go of the basic idea. He discussed it with other molecular biologists at UCSC--including Harry Noller, Robert Edgar, and Robert Ludwig--and they decided to convene a workshop to explore the idea.

Participants in that 1985 meeting who will also attend the workshop this summer include Sinsheimer; Noller, now the Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology at UCSC; geneticist David Botstein, now at Stanford University; and Leroy Hood, who now heads the Institute for Quantitative Systems Biology in Seattle.

The 1985 workshop planted the idea of sequencing the human genome within the core group of scientists wh

Contact: Tim Stephens
University of California - Santa Cruz

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