The map of our DNA is finally complete

Finally, scientists have completed sequencing the entire human genome, which was recently announced with six papers published the journal Science.

Though the Human Genome Project was begun in 1985 at the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some 8% of human genome had remained incomplete due to technological difficulties, writes Karen Weintraub of USA Today.

In some ways, these publications might be considered the long-awaited closing ceremony.

– Dr. Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH (source: USA Today)

Dr. Evan Eichler, a geneticist at the University of Washington School of Medicine who helped lead the research, who has been reportedly hoping for decades to fill in the gaps told the USA Today that this mapping would help to fill missing gap and explain “how humans adapted to and survived infections and plagues, how our bodies clear toxins, how individuals respond differently to drugs, what makes the brain distinctly human and what makes each of us distinct from each other”.

“In principle, this will allow us to better understand how we form as an individual organism and how we vary not just between other humans but other species. For me, it’s like a dream come true.”

The entire scientific community is reportedly celebrating this major achievement. Karen Miga, another co-chair of the research team and associate director of the UCSC Genomics Institute at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told USA Today:

We’re more excited about what we don’t know and the opportunity for discovery.

The fact that there’s an entire class of variation that’s never been seen before is extremely exciting to me.

– Michael Schatz, professor of computer science and biology at Johns Hopkins University (source: USA Today)

It’s a huge milestone that should be celebrated.We probably won’t know all the great things that come from it for a while in the same way that it’s taken decades to see the medical benefits of the original map. We shouldn’t expect miracles. This is a milestone on that pathway. “We’ll get to celebrate multiple times” before that becomes reality

– George Church, a geneticist at Harvard University (source: USA Today)

Additional information is available in this filling the gaps issue of journal Science.