UC Santa Cruz Public Forum on the Human Genome

o attended. One of them was Walter Gilbert of Harvard University, who became an ardent promoter of the concept. At around the same time, other scientists made independent proposals to sequence the human genome, notably Renato Dulbecco of the Salk Institute and Charles DeLisi of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Ultimately, the Human Genome Project was officially launched in 1990 as a joint project of the DOE and the National Institutes of Health.

UCSC re-entered the picture in December 1999, as the project neared its goal of completing the genome sequence. Project leaders asked David Haussler, professor of computer science at UCSC and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, to help with the analysis of the human genome. Before that work could get started, however, the genome sequence had to be assembled from fragmented data obtained by the project's sequencing laboratories.

This proved to be more difficult than anticipated, but UCSC met the challenge, thanks to the work of biology graduate student Jim Kent. Kent, whose efforts have been widely celebrated, wrote the computer program used to assemble the human genome sequence. He also created a web-based human genome browser (http://genome.ucsc.edu). Kent finished the assembly in June 2000, just days before this landmark achievement was announced at a White House press conference.

Kent, Haussler, and other UCSC researchers continue to work on the analysis of the human genome sequence and the ongoing task of filling in gaps and updating the assembled sequence as new data become available.


Contact: Tim Stephens
University of California - Santa Cruz

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