Beginnings of the Human Genome Project at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, James Watson

Interviewee: James Watson. James Watson talks about beginnings of the Human Genome Project at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Well concurrent with the symposium, or just at that time, discussions had been going on for about a year as to whether we should work out the complete genetic message in humans, it was called the Human Genome Project. And on the 24 different human chromosomes there are some three billion bases, and the aim of the project was, get the order of each of these bases along the chromosomes. And the people who first proposed it were technologists, they wanted to sequence bigger and bigger DNA molecules, they were talking about having machines do it. And one thought, well they're going too fast, why don't you do a bacteria first. At that time we had some viral DNA's, we had about a hundred thousand, but we had to go, when you talked about humans it was ten thousand times bigger project.

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