Human Genome Research: Decoding DNA
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has historically been active in supporting human genome research. On September 10, 2003, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham presented the Secretary's Gold Award to Aristides Patrinos and Francis Collins for their leadership of the government's Human Genome Project. At DOE's Office of Science, Dr. Patrinos is the Associate Director for Biological and Environmental Research. He has been a researcher at the department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
DOE and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the description of the DNA double helix during April 2003. James D. Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research in this area.
On June 26, 2000, President Clinton, leaders of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and representatives of the biotechnology company Celera announced the completion of a "working draft" reference DNA sequence of the human genome. The achievement provides scientists worldwide with a road map to an estimated 90% of genes on every chromosome.
Previously, on April 13, 2000, U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson announced that 'researchers at DOE's Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California, had decoded in draft form the genetic information on human chromosomes 5, 16, and 19. The chromosomes contain an estimated 10–15,000 genes, including those whose defects may lead to genetically linked diseases such as certain forms of kidney disease, prostate and colorectal cancer, leukemia, hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. …
The human genome is the full complement of genetic material in a human cell; it contains instructions for making all the protein molecules for all the different kinds of cells of the human body – neurons in the brain, red blood cells, bone tissue, liver cells, etc. In decoding DNA, researchers determine the "sequence" or exact order of the individual chemical building blocks, or bases, that make up the DNA. The three chromosomes sequenced by Department of Energy researchers contain more than 300 million base pairs, or an estimated 11 percent of the total human genome.'1
Additional information on the Human Genome Project and the Department's Human Genome Program is available in full-text DOE reports and on the Web.
Information on a Major New Initiative: Mapping and Sequencing the Human Genome (1986 DOE Memorandum)
Human Genome Program Report. Part 1, Overview and Progress; DOE Technical Report, November 1997
Human Genome Program Report. Part 2, 1996 Research Abstracts; DOE Technical Report, November 1997
Origins of the Human Genome Project; DOE Technical Report, July 1993
To Know Ourselves; DOE Technical Report, July 1996
Primer on Molecular Genetics. DOE Human Genome Program; DOE Technical Report, April 1992
A Vital Legacy: Biological and Environmental Research in the Atomic Age; DOE Technical Report, September 1997
Additional Web pages:
Meetings that Changed the World: Santa Fe 1986: Human Genome Baby-steps, by Charles DeLisi, Nature 455, 876-977 (October 2008)
genomics.energy.gov - Genome Programs of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science
Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids, Nature 171, 1953
Watson and Crick Describe Structure of DNA, 1953, PBS, A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries