Note from the author
exploring the project

    The Human Genome Project (1)
    The Word
    Genetic Transcription
    & Translation
    Nature of the Genome
    All Life is One

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‘The Human Genome is the ‘Holy Grail’ of biology.’ Washington Post

‘I would say the Human Genome Project is probably more significant than splitting the atom or going to the moon. That sounds really audacious, doesn't it? But I think history, when we look back in a hundred years, will agree with that conclusion. This is an adventure into ourselves, to read our own blueprint, the consequences of that, for our ability to understand health and disease, and a whole variety of other issues that relate to humanity are profound, so I don't think it's grandiose or overstated to claim this is the most significant organized scientific effort that humankind has ever mounted, bar none.’ Francis Collins, Head of US Human Genome Project, CNN, US

‘Coy Nature, / which remained, though aged grown,/ A Beauteous virgin still, injoy’d by none,/ Nor seen unveil’d by any one…’ Abraham Crowley, 1618-67, Ode upon Dr Harvey

‘We, the Heads of Government of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany and China, are proud to announce that scientists from our six countries have completed the essential sequence of three billion base pairs of DNA of the Human Genome, the molecular instruction book of human life…The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium has completed decoding all the chapters of the instruction book of human life. This information is now freely available to the world without constraints via public databases on the World Wide Web.This genetic sequence provides us with the fundamental platform for understanding ourselves, from which revolutionary progress will be made in biomedical sciences and in the health and welfare of humankind. Thus, we take today an important step towards establishing a healthier future for all the peoples of the globe, for whom the human genome serves as a common inheritance. .. We congratulate all the people who participated in this project on their creativity and dedication. Their outstanding work will be noted in the history of science and technology, as well in the history of humankind, as a landmark achievement. We encourage the world to celebrate the scientific achievement of completing the Human Genome Project, and we exhort the scientific and medical communities to rededicate themselves to the utilization of these new discoveries to reduce human suffering.’ Statement, Heads of Government of Six Countries

‘…any scientist worth listening to must be something of a poet, must possess the ability to communicate to the rest of us his sense of love and wonder at what his work discovers.’ Edward Abbey, The Journey Home, 1977

‘Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement.’ Christopher Fry

Today we celebrate the revelation of the first draft of the human book of life… it is humbling for me and awe inspiring to realise that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God,Dr Francis Collins, Head of the Human Genome Project,  main public US sequencing centre… “This is the outstanding achievement not only of our lifetime but in terms of human history,Dr Michael Dexter, Director, Wellcome Trust, UK… “Today we are learning the language in which God created life…We are gaining ever more in awe for the complexity, the beauty, the wonder of God’s most divine and sacred gift,” Bill Cinton, US President…“Being able to read the Genome will tell us more about our origins, evolution, nature and our minds that all the efforts of science to date, and will revolutionise anthrogopogy, psychology, medicine, palaentology and virtually ever other science - it is  the greatest intellectual monument in history,Matt Ridley, Science Writer

Today we hand over the gift of the human genome to the public. It is very fragile and beautiful and a powerful force for great good or great evil,” Dr Mike Stratton, Sanger Centre, UK…“Shivers ran down my spine because I realised that we were seeing human beings opened to investigation with a depth we'd never seen before,David Baltimore, President, California Institute of Technology… “Today could well be regarded as one of the most significant days in human history… It's better than the invention of the wheel, because technology could make that obsolete - the genome never will be," Dr Mike Dexter, Director, The Wellcome Trust, UK…“Researchers will go on mining the data from the human genome for ever,’ Dr John Sulston, Head, UK Human Genome Project.

What a profound responsibility it is to do this work. Historians will consider this a turning point...It will lead scientists to  previously unimagined insights, and from there to the common good,Dr Francis Collins, Head, Human Genome Project, US… “Every so often in the history of human endeavour there comes a breakthrough that takes mankind across the frontier and into a new era,Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister...“The scientific breakthrough of the century - perhaps of all time… the most wondrous map ever produced by human kind," Bill Clinton, US President… “It’s a giant resource that will change mankind,” DrJames Watson, Co-discoverer of the structure of DNA...“The human genome will be the foundation of biology for decades, centuries or millennia to come,Dr John Sulston, Director, Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre, UK… “Compared with the knowledge to be gleaned from the Genome, the whole of the rest of biology is but a thimbleful,Matt Ridley, Science Writer.

“It's certainly the biggest thing to hit biology since Darwin - it's probably the most important science project ever,” Professor Martin Bobrow... “The scientific breakthrough of the century - perhaps of all time,”  Bill Clinton, US President“In four billion years of evolution, we've never had the opportunity to contemplate the recipes of the strands of sequence that represent and encode all the functions that make us who we are… that will set the stage for medical research for the coming century," Dr Hayden, Professor of Genetics, University of British Colombia“We've now got to the point in human history where for the first time we are going to hold in our hands the set of instructions to make a human being. That is an incredible philosophical step forward, and will change, I think, the way we think of ourselves,"  Dr John Sulston, Director, Sanger Centre, UK…”It's the best effort that mortals can do with current technology.” Elbert Branscomb, Founding Director, Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, US.

“The Human Genome project, the reading of the book of mankind, does have the potential to impact on the lives of every person on this planet," Dr Michael Dexter, Director, The Wellcome Trust… “Let the scientists discover. That is what we are good at, that's our job. Then we give the results to the public, to us all to discuss what should be done with them,Sir John Sulston, Director, Wellcome Trust Sanger CentreWhat a profound responsibility it is to do this work. Historians will consider this a turning point,"  Dr Francis Collins, Head, Human Genome Project, US “Each of the 30,000-100,000 genes is like a verse of the bible,”  UK scientist… “We are confirming Darwin, it's great to be getting the molecular correlates of what Darwin hypothesised 150 years ago,”  Sir John Sulston, Director, Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre… “The Human Genome Project is one of the great all-time achievements of UK science,” Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Minister for Science, UK…  “The genome sequence will become one of the most valuable maps in the history of humankind,”  Dr Michael Dexter, Director, Wellcome Trust, UK.

“The first great technological triumph of the 21st century,” Tony Blair, Prime Minister, UK “I think we will view this period as a very historic time, a new starting point," Dr Craig Venter, Celera Genomics, private US Human Genome sequencing company “We share 51% of our genes with yeast and 98% with chimpanzees - it is not genetics that makes us human," Dr Tom Shakespeare, University of Newcastle… “It represents an immense step forward for humanity in deciphering the make-up of life itself," Yoshiro Mori, Prime Minister, Japan "The deciphering of the book of life is a milestone in science," Roger-Gerard Schwartzenberg, French Research Minister “It will exist on the world's computers for as long as we exist… it's a project of truly biblical proportions,” Dr John Sulston, Head, UK Human Genome Project… “I've seen a lot of exciting biology emerge over the past 40 years. But chills still ran down my spine when I first read the paper that describes the outline of our genome…’ David Baltimore, President, California Institute of Technology... “I think of my little boy, Leo, growing up and learning and knowing things that his grandfather, after whom he was named, could not even have dreamt of. It is not like different generations but different eras of human existence,” Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister.

“Along with Bach’s music, Shakespeare’s sonnets, and the Apollo Space Programme, the Human Genome Project is one of those achievements of the human spirit that makes me proud to be human,” Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford…”The most wondrous map ever produced by human kind,” Bill Clinton, US President… “I never thought it would be done as quickly as this," Professor Fred Sanger, Co-inventor of DNA sequencing… “With this profound new knowledge, humankind is on the verge of gaining  immense new power to heal. Genome science will have a real impact on all our lives, and even more on the lives of our children. It will  revolutionize the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases,” Bill Clinton, US President… “Let us be in no doubt about what we are witnessing today; a revolution in medical science,” Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister.

‘The announcement of the first draft of the human genome was big news, with a packed press conference at the Wellcome Trust and a video link-up between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. The press vied to outdo each other with their descriptions of the first draft.’ Wellcome Trust, UK

‘This is a sensational article. I am sorry. In these articles I try to keep to facts. But occasionally facts are sensational.’ JBS Haldane, Science, Peace and War, 1940



‘THE BOOK OF LIFE’ Financial Times, UK

‘THE BOOK OF LIFE’ The Observer, UK


‘It's one small piece of man... one giant leap for mankind’

The Mirror, UK

‘Life's Secret Manual’ Evening Standard, UK

‘Pure Genius’ Daily Express, UK

‘Joy as scientists crack DNA code of life' The Mirror, UK

‘Gene code could beat all disease’ The Sun, UK

‘All human life is here’ The Telegraph, UK

‘Scientists revel in day of glory’ The Guardian, UK

The miraculous map of mankind’ Daily Mail, UK

Human Genome Almost Decoded.’

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany

Press views of first draft - The Sunday Times took it just to be another pitstop in ‘The race for the Croesus code’, and argued: ‘What is at stake is the future of medicine, maybe even the future of social improvement via genetical modification of behaviour’… Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bill Clinton entered the ‘Battle to control the human genome blueprint’ (The Times) when they called for all raw data on human genes to be made freely available to scientists everywhere. ‘Gene panic sparks slump’ wrote the Sunday Business as the share prices of Celera and other biotech companies plummeted. The Economist came to the defence of the private sector companies, describing them as ‘In-gene-uous’ and saying that ‘in genomics, the British and American governments are meddling in things that do not concern them’... The Blair/Clinton announcement was intended to ‘tell scientists to end the gene war’ (The Telegraph), but the media were not to be diverted. ‘DNA: It’s War’ headlined the Guardian Weekend’s profiles of Craig Venter and John Sulston…’Decoding the human genome will change the world. But it’s not just about science; it’s UK vs US; public spirit vs private enterprise. And it’s personal’. As journalists readied themselves for the announcement of the first draft of the human genome, The Telegraph asked two popular science writers, ‘Has the genome been overhyped?’; ‘Yes,’ said Steve Jones, ‘There’s more to life than chemistry.’ ‘No,’ countered Matt Ridley, ‘It really is a BIG DEAL.’ ‘Having the tools is one thing: knowing what to do with them is quite another,’ said the Express.’ Source, Wellcome Trust


‘This is a project more important than the splitting of the atom or landing on the Moon,’ Il Messaggero, Italy... ‘A unique historic event that marks a high point in the progress of mankind, a qualitative scientific leap forward that opens the door to revealing the mystery of life,’ Diario 16, Spain…‘It will no longer be science fiction to imagine technologies capable of preventing illnesses and curing, even before birth, genetic malformations,’ Il Messaggero, Italy... ‘The completion of a veritable Apollo-style programme in biology,’ Le Figaro, France…’The most significant scientific achievement in years,’ United Daily News, Taiwan. .. ‘The mapping of the genome is just the beginning. Now comes the difficult part: putting the genome to work,’ New York Times…’The discovery will not just change medicine but all fields of society and they will demand that we answer ethical questions of a so far unimaginably explosive force…To what extent can people afford to prolong life expectancy on the already over-populated planet Earth?’ Die Welt, Germany:.. “It would be fatal if private companies were allowed to claim exclusive rights to any of the code. Human genes must not become an object that is open to market speculation just like shares.’ Suddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

Human Genome Annunciation (1)

There are trumpets in today’s loud sunshine,

daffodils prooting annunciation of spring -

bright yellow voices chattering, giggling

in fingery wind, squeakily stiff on parade,

herald duties; funsters attempting seriousness.

Big news to Earth’s creatures is coming – but

this time beyond seasonal warming of soil

molecules, limbering roots, imploded seed

DNA. They are more than first sparks, bright-

minted yellow rusting, rustling into summer –

listen - whispering, nervous joy - like excited children

in the wings before a play, exuberance only just bound

by green wires tying yellow floral ribbons to the earth,

because knowledge has returned - so ancient, language

is being dragged semi-comatose from poetry, religion,

history; everywhere half-buried that has skills enough,

resonance for appropriate capture, means of expression.

They are aghast, open-mouthed at blue opening above -

that great sky maw voicing one articulate blue thought,

mightily simple, yet magnificent - written among stars;

self-dazzling, grinning, just rubbing cheek to cheek -

dainty air-kissing like posh Englishwomen at parties

you want to grab, plant a smacker, proper kiss

on pursed lips, grasping limpfish fingers firmly,

smudging lipstick for a shower of honest pollen -

like gold DNA daffodil-dust from sweet tongues.

It’s a rollicking song - the song of daffodils bursting

jauntily from flagpole green; a tuned choir of season,

temperature, youthful light, warm rainwater opening

soprano mouths - always a dramatic announcement -

they understand symbolism’s urgency, evolved message,

ruthless beauty - each frill is an elaboration of centuries.

How many millennia practising, beginning as gold

embers cooling from the first high fires of creation;

this knowledge was written also in the hearts of daffodils -

flowers wrapped deep and careful in tissued brown globes,

in darkness between original stars; light smelted into earth,

charged in dark, bulb hearts, switches tripped every spring –

organic bottled light that would one day illuminate blue;

yellow herald mouths today gossiping and proclaiming. 

‘But it was Dr Mike Stratton, Head of the Cancer Genome Project at the Sanger Centre, the UK's main sequencing centre, who said the big prize, the human genetic blueprint, was being given to the public. "Today is the day that we hand over the gift of the human genome to the public. It is very fragile and beautiful and a powerful force for great good or evil," he said. The responsibility for its use was also being handed over to society, said Dr Stratton. Dr John Sulston, leader of the UK's contribution to the Human Genome Project, agreed, adding: "I'm confident that if we can explain this well, so that it becomes part of the democratic process, we will have no problems”.’ Dr Damian Carrington, BBC News Online

Human Genome Annunciation (2)

Through language’s mental labyrinth,

hunting poetry, super-natural words -

even her limping, clanging, sugary,

shuffling kin, will do – try, at least.

Truffling metaphor - rusty tongues

forcing creaking similes; bulging,

dusty words dug from untilled hearts -

mining a foreign vocabulary lurking

at the communal roots of trained, pared,

buzzing brains - now re-programming -

re-wiring for analogy, wonder, beauty -

pilfering dictionary, religion, Thesaurus,

speechwriter’s tools, movie trailers…

to really nail it; spell pictures, stories,

explanatory images - comprehension 

for the mutual canvas of human mind,

for noble ignoramuses, the alien brothers

munching crisps on sofas, open-mouthed.

Scientists, Presidents, Prime Ministers -

Journalists groping for poetry’s ruthless

skeleton, her iron and silver,

musical soul; luxurious halo –

beauty, hung like morning breath

over a lake in England. Searching

for words that shine enough to tell of this;

say, mean, explain, carry enough weight -

here is the Word of Life,

natural poem of creation;

verse of mankind, read -

sublime art of chemistry.

Here is the magic binding Earth,

and all that lives – grape to man,

lemur, snail, seed -

flowers and fingers;

so, yes, let’s hear that resonating diction,

holy grammar - rare, special inflection -

I say unto you, they are groping

for God under robe and beard -

for the God Genome

which created Christ -

under centuries made in man’s image.

God hated by science - God of Blood

and Spirit both; a blurred, unanalysable thorn

in the grown-ungiving crystal heart of science.

Because nothing else fits this concept;

revelation, truth - realisation, insight -

but holy words, their old gold beaten,

recyled, gleaming, into a cup refined -

because it’s clear, even an aetheist,

in extremis, sometimes needs God.

‘THE GENOME IS IN. Except for a few jots, tittles and i's yet to be dotted, all of the basic links in the chain of DNA that spells out humanity's genetic endowment are now known, ready to be studied in exquisite detail, scientists announced yesterday. The achievement - a true milestone in science - was announced at a White House news conference by President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair - via satellite hookup - and scientists who led the international  gene-finding venture… Clinton stated: “Today we are learning the language in which God created life.” And yesterday they celebrated, telling the world they had achieved their goal-and then some... As scientists scramble to unravel every last bit of information in the human genes, what they're digging into is, in fact, the common denominator of everyone. ..Collins recently urged hundreds of researchers at a major genome meeting to help people understand what is going on, and where genome research is leading. He said his fellow scientists need to open up and communicate publicly about their work in the pursuit of genes….he said scientists need to emerge from their laboratories and share their genetic wisdom, to be ambassadors for  their science. Helping people understand the genome would also take about 19 years if one tried to read out every bit of chemical information stored therein. But that's exactly what scientists are now doing - reading this encyclopedia of life - in a big hurry.’ Robert Cooke, Newsday

Seeing the means of our own creation -

written on screen, just four little letters;

A, C, G, T - such uncluttered magic,

stark alchemy, fantastic simplicity -

beauty under android skin,

in the true soul of Science,

shows poetry’s flexible nature, the plastic

character of art - exploratory heart, better

able to elasticise such explanation;

expand facts to meaning, describe.

‘We are seeing the handwriting of God’ -

they say, struggling for a better metaphor

to spear, skewer us a moment on our sofas,

like those butterflies caught flying in boxes;

harpoon us from everyday seas -

oncoming, small smashing waves.

Our ears so long deaf to alien Science,

left behind with leather satchel smell -

Mercury like fallen angel tears,

blood of a star, soul of Silver -

crucible, Potassium, Lithium -

crystal, salt, element, litmus…

even then poetry could not be denied to Science;

invasion, nature as permeating light, everywhere.

They know they must tell us, as apostles,

sages informing fellow citizens of Earth;

Wise Men, leaders. Those few who understand

must bear witness, explain and communicate -

not as burden, onerous duty, but in celebration,

wonder - good news of our beauty, miraculous

nature – we are books, letters that have been read -

universal as a poem, particular as a fingerprint, eye.

More poem than machine, brute flesh factory -

that thinking, selfish, impoverished machine

constructed by a limiting mind, excluding

uncomfortable concepts of consciousness;

burning soul like a dispensible phosphorous flare –

not for illumination, but ashes, diminuition; denial

of phoenix principle - altruism, love – so consigned

with unicorns, griffons, mermaids, dragons, centaurs,

magic; fairies as pollution, bluebottles, flies -

angels cast as albatrosses, vampires, vultures.

We dream of wings because the Human Genome

is an angel whose virtual wings are now clipped -

her sleeping genes are not unwritten;

furled, inform body, thought, legend.

We love flowers, country, each other,

because the Genome is brother, sister,

parent and child, to everything that lives -

astounding, ancient, perpetual Earth child;

genetic horde, prize, gallery and art.

How will they properly say it then -

but with the whiff of glory, rumble

of scriptural thunder; Psalm, poem -

without the skins of beauty, her shine,

resurrected mists of mystery shifting.

Without being open-mouthed - sloshing

star-colour wonder; brushing information,

sequencing software/hardware, wildly

difficult chemistry, complex processes -

hearing best of all, that silver triangle sound

rung at truth’s simple heart - her parables -

so much room in the concept, metaphor,

reality of the deciphered, holy Genome,

to house everything so comfortably within -

visions men had wrongly turned to enemies,

friction, opposition - so many finding -

bizarrely, the best science needs poetry.


‘For the world's biological scientists, Monday was G-Day - the announcement of the first draft of the human genetic code. Many began their careers believing this achievement was an impossible dream. But as the UK's top genome scientists emerged blinking from their laboratories into the glare of the first press conference in London, they could proudly announce that nearly all the code had been cracked… Photographers prowled and reporters howled, but though the researchers were shorn of their lab coats they were armoured with news of a changed world…All the back-slapping gave the atmosphere of an awards ceremony. The Wellcome Trust was thanked for bankrolling the UK's contribution. The men and women of the Sanger Centre were praised for their work, which was carried out "not for great financial gain or scientific kudos" but for public benefit. The engineers who built the equipment were lauded as the "great unsung heroes".’ Dr Damian Carrington, BBC News Online

‘The US president and the UK prime minister have hailed the rough draft of the entire human genetic code as "the most wondrous map ever produced by human kind". Their words followed news conferences around the world on Monday at which scientists jointly announced that they had obtained a near-complete set of the biochemical instructions for human life. The achievement is being called one of the most significant scientific landmarks of all time, comparable with the invention of the wheel or the splitting of the atom. The genetic information will revolutionise medicine over the coming decades, giving us new tests and drugs for previously untreatable diseases. Some fear it could also lead to the emergence of a genetic underclass - people who have inherited faulty code…To decipher the first draft, scientists had to read the three billion chemical "letters" strung out along the DNA spirals at the heart of nearly all our cells... Efforts would continue to fill in the gaps, they said, with a fully finished genome available within three years…President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair linked up via satellite to salute the work of the scientists. They said society had a duty to use the new information responsibly and for the benefit of all humankind.’ BBC Science

What hymn, what poem

What hymn, what poem

to tell of such things -

when words it seems

cannot cup, contain

this concept, shining idea -

largeness, smallness in one,

catching the rain in a silver soupspoon -

like that simple little poem of Relativity

everyone can memorise -

seeing the train, the clock,

fuzzy hair, (weirdly, Marilyn Monroe) -

is the skeleton of an enormous creature,

massive idea - with space, zillions of stars -

time and matter, spread across the Universe;

is only the boiled bones, bled for preservation,

comprehension - even its name carrying softer

flesh - ‘Theory of Relativity’ -

word garment of easier beauty.

But still austerity sharply shines -

the inexplicable power of symbol;

as these bright letters of the Human Genome,

revealed, are mightier than the recipe for stars.

Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome - The human genome holds an extraordinary trove of information about human development, physiology, medicine and evolution. Here we report the results of an international collaboration to produce and make freely available a draft sequence of the human genome. We also present an initial analysis of the data, describing some of the insights that can be gleaned from the sequence…The sequence data have been made available without restriction and updated daily throughout the project. The task ahead is to produce a finished sequence, by closing all gaps and resolving all ambiguities. Already about one billion bases are in final form and the task of bringing the vast majority of the sequence to this standard is now straightforward and should proceed rapidly…The sequence of the human genome is of interest in several respects. It is the largest genome to be extensively sequenced so far, being 25 times as large as any previously sequenced genome and eight times as large as the sum of all such genomes. It is the first vertebrate genome to be extensively sequenced. And, uniquely, it is the genome of our own species. Much work remains to be done to produce a complete finished sequence, but the vast trove of information that has become available through this collaborative effort allows a global perspective on the human genome…We find it humbling to gaze upon the human sequence now coming into focus. In principle, the string of genetic bits holds long-sought secrets of human development, physiology and medicine. In practice, our ability to transform such information into understanding remains woefully inadequate. This paper simply records some initial observations and attempts to frame issues for future study.’  "International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium" International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, Nature, 2001

Only a few sentences in life are worth hearing -

Only a few sentences in life are worth hearing -

for the rest you could well be deaf as a flower.

Words of love, comfort, compassion;

wonder, wisdom, counsel, healing -

all the rest dissolving into dull oral mud,

smalltalk history sludge - chitter-chatter;

like living near the sea,

this soundtrack, looping - 


hairstyles/TV/film/school/cars -

playing from our own mouths,

fleshy ventriloquist dummies,

when your eyes are speaking different

stories – darkness, passion, love, need;

my heart hears but says nothing - fear,

manners, gagging; binding shy hands.

So media trumpets come brassly blazing,

like the annual uprising of first daffodils -

brash, blasting suddenly over the hill, 

all fierce Sunday bonnets, so dazzling;

we hear briefly the annunciation -

revelation of the Human Genome;

shivering, enormous implications,

intimation of galactic enormity -

and the ethereal luminosity,

as moonshine in your hand;

the poetry of it

under the noise.

‘The draft genome sequence is a dynamic product, which is regularly updated as additional data accumulate en route to the ultimate goal of a completely finished sequence… it remains an incomplete, intermediate product that is regularly updated as we work towards a complete finished sequence. The current version contains many gaps and errors.’ "International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium" International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, Nature, 2001

What is the difference between draft sequence and finished sequence? In generating the draft sequence, scientists determined the order of base pairs in each chromosomal area at least 4 to 5 times (4x to 5x) to ensure data accuracy and to help with reassembling DNA fragments in their original order. This repeated sequencing is known as genome "depth of coverage." Draft sequence data are mostly in the form of 10,000 basepair-sized fragments whose approximate chromosomal locations are known.To generate high-quality sequence, additional sequencing is done to close gaps, reduce ambiguities, and allow for only a single error every 10,000 bases, the agreed-upon standard for HGP finished sequence. Investigators believe that a high-quality sequence is critical for recognizing regulatory components of genes that are very important in understanding human biology and such disorders as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The finished version provides an estimated 8x to 9x coverage of each chromosome.’ Human Genome Project, US