The Human Genome Project produced an almost complete order of the 3 billion pairs of chemical letters in the DNA that embodies the human genetic code -- but little about the way that blueprint works. Now, after years of concerted effort by more than 440 researchers in 32 labs around the world, in a project called ENCODE, a more dynamic picture gives the first holistic view of how the human genome does its job.
'During the early debates about the Human Genome Project, researchers had predicted that only a few percent of the human genome sequence encoded proteins, the workhorses of the cell, and that the rest was junk. We now know that this conclusion was wrong,' said Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a part of the National Institutes of Health. 'ENCODE has revealed that most of the human genome is involved in the complex molecular choreography required for converting genetic information into living cells and organisms.'
'We've come a long way,' said Ewan Birney, Ph.D., of the European Bioinformatics Institute, in the United Kingdom, and lead analysis-coordinator for ENCODE. 'By carefully piecing together a simply staggering variety of data, we've shown that the human genome is simply alive with switches, turning our genes on and off and controlling when and where proteins are produced.'
Which is precisely what this blog has been saying for years.
Full story on ScienceDaily.