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Human genome at ten

The working draft of the human genome sequence was released nearly 10 years ago, with the much-heralded announcement of its completion taking place in June 2000. For much of the decade, casual observers might have wondered what all the fuss was about. But the biology and technology were developing all the time, and with the recent publication of a series of major genome-wide association studies, a flood of human sequences [page 670] and the advent of ‘personal genomics’, it’s a good time to take stock. What the genome sequence didn’t do was make life simple. With the ‘blueprint of life’ to hand, the thinking went, things would suddenly slot into place. But as Erika Check Hayden reports, what emerged [page 664] is an awe-inspiring level of complexity. Competition was the spur that delivered the genome in 2000 rather than years later [page 668], and in Opinion, two of the main protagonists reflect on the achievements of the past decade and thepromise of the next: Francis Collins [page 674] lists five key lessons for the future and Craig Venter [page 676] cautions that the challenge of the personal genomics era is on a par with the original sequencing feat itself. Investment in sequencing was part justified by the prospect of a medical dividend. Robert Weinberg [page 678] points out that in cancer clinics at least, there is little to show so far. Benefits will come but, he says, we need to harness traditional methods, particularly that of developing then testing a hypothesis, to focus the new technologies. Though Todd Golub celebrates the fresh impetus that un biased genomics surveys can provide because they are non-traditional [page 679]. For a full list of human genome features in this issue see the Editorial [page 649] and the web special on www.nature.com/humangenome. To tell us what you think the human genome’s greatest impact has been, complete our survey (go.nature.com/KL4gK1) by 30 April.

Related articles

  • (Editorial p649, doi: 10.1038/464649a)
  • (News Features p664, doi: 10.1038/464664a)
  • (News Features p670, doi: 10.1038/464670a)
  • (News Features p668, doi: 10.1038/464668a)

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