What If There Are Only 30,000 Human Genes?

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Science  16 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5507, pp. 1255-1257
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058969

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The complete assembly of the entire human genome sequence by Venter et al. confirms recent estimates that the total number of human protein coding genes might be less than 30,000--a mere one-third increase over the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Such a low gene number constitutes a paradigm change, which could drastically modify our understanding of organism complexity and evolution, as well as our current interpretation of transcriptome analyses. It may also have severe consequences on the long-term sustainability of the biomedical industry in the postgenomic era.