The birth of the Human Genome Project was now 25 years ago (woah!)…What was the HGP’s significance to biotech?
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international effort with a primary goal; to sequence the entire genetic code of a whole organism (Humans…). It today remains the largest ever world collaborative project, which thrust the Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals industries (nevermind countless other scientific fields) into a whole new era of research.
Watson maybe described the HGP best, way back in ‘the beginning’. To him, whether or not the project should be undertaken was not a question, but an eventuality in the progression of science. He predicted in an annual report in 1986:
To [human geneticists], the possession of the complete human DNA sequence would be a resource of inestimable value. To have it within our grasp and not go for it strikes them as an act of gross irresponsibility to society.”
Technically speaking though, the project actually only aimed to sequence about 92% of the entire Human genome (the euchromatic portion) with some less-relevant coding from telomeres and centromeres (heterochromatic) deemed less relevant to the project’s mission.