Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project mapped the human genome, the DNA map of human life. It enables future genetic technologies that can cure disease, preemptively find problematic genes, or even allow genetic manipulation (designer babies).

Francis Watson was the initial lead. He is the Nobel Prize winning co-discoverer of DNA sequencing. As the project gained in size and scope, Collins took over.

Sulston led the UK part of the project that sequenced about 1/3rd of the genome. Venter worked for the Celera unit of Applera Corp., which was creating their own map.

There was collaboration and co-innovation.

Watson and Sulston have been awarded Nobel Prizes while scientists buzz that it’s only a matter of time until Collins is awarded the Nobel Prize. Many argue Venter also deserves a Nobel Prize. However, the prize committee has a history of shorting people working for private companies, no matter their merit. [See Raymond Damadian.]

The Human Genome Project, first published 2001 then published in a nicer form in 2003, took about a decade and cost about $1 billion USD. By 2020, industry sequencing leader Illumina predicts a full-body sequence will take about an hour and cost $100, and that time and cost will continue to decline.

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