Functional genes and the human genome project

Doctor Thomas Insel points out that while the human genome project is largely complete, the real challenge lies in figuring out the function of each gene.

I remember when the human genome project was finished, I remember Sidney Brenner talking about it and saying, ‘This is terrific. We have a huge directory with all the addresses.’ But you know he said, 'You know, functionally what this is, is sort of like having the white pages of the phone book and what we really need now will be the yellow pages; we need to know where are all the plumbers, where are all the electricians, where are all the mechanics because when something goes wrong you want to go to the yellow pages. You don’t know necessarily where all the right candidates will be.’ I think an agenda for the field over the next several years will be actually developing those yellow pages, understanding how to provide the function and the interrelationships of all of the many parts of this genome. Of course, one of the things that most surprising for people in the last five years, and it’s been almost exactly 5 years since the publication of the human genome project. We thought we had a pretty good sense, even within the white pages, of all the names and all the addresses. We had about 23 thousand genes and where they were located. Of course, what we are now realizing is that there are lots of other elements within the genome that were not cataloged, that we’re still beginning to try to get some understanding of. All of these small RNAs, lots of other factors that are within all of the non-protein coding parts of the genome, and that’s going to be still a big challenge for us going forward.

human genome project, sidney brenner, phone book, yellow, white, pages, function, functional, genomics, thomas insel

Related Content

15477. The public Human Genome Project: mapping the genome, sequencing, and reassembly. 3D animation.

The public Human Genome Project: mapping the genome, sequencing, and reassembly.

  • ID: 15477
  • Source: DNALC.DNAi

16491. Biography 21: Sydney Brenner (1927-2019)

Sydney Brenner showed that mRNA was the unstable intermediate that carried the message from DNA to the ribosomes.

  • ID: 16491
  • Source: DNALC.DNAFTB

2008. Cognitive disorders are early onset disorders

Doctor Thomas Insel points out that many cognitive disorders have a relatively early onset, and the challenge is to find out the relevant genetic, cellular, and neural correlates.

  • ID: 2008
  • Source: G2C

15309. Junk DNA in the human genome, Jim Kent.

Jim Kent talks about junk DNA in the human genome.

  • ID: 15309
  • Source: DNAi

2010. Vasopressin, oxytocin and bonding (1)

Doctor Thomas Insel discusses the importance of two neuropeptides - oxytocin and vasopressin - in relation to attachment and social bonding.

  • ID: 2010
  • Source: G2C

16855. Concept 41: DNA is only the beginning for understanding the human genome.

Discovering protein function is the next step in understanding the human genome.

  • ID: 16855
  • Source: DNAFTB

15574. Newspapers (media)

The media covered the progress and the difficulties of the Human Genome Project.

  • ID: 15574
  • Source: DNAi

515. Function of the DISC1 Gene

Professor David Porteous describes how his group is trying to uncover the function of the DISC1 gene.

  • ID: 515
  • Source: G2C

15570. Human Genome Project logo / human figure in DNA

Human Genome Project logo.

  • ID: 15570
  • Source: DNAi

15486. The human genome: genes and non-coding DNA, 3D animation with basic narration

The human genome: genes and non-coding DNA, 3D animation with basic narration.

  • ID: 15486
  • Source: DNALC.DNAi