News & CommentHuman Genome Project

Physicists Urge Technology Push to Reach 2005 Target

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Science  02 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5347, pp. 23
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5347.23

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Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have pledged to determine all 3 billion bases in the human genome by 2005. This target seemed ambitious when the agencies adopted it 5 years ago. And for DOE, which recently acquired a new management team and is revamping its program, it still looks very difficult. Indeed, this winter, DOE has received a new warning from a group of advisers known as the JASONs--an independent group of physicists and engineers formed in 1960 to advise the military on weapons design. In a report issued this month (see p. 36), they warn that unless DOE and NIH make a significant improvement in technology used to sequence the genome, they may not reach their goal.