Drawing the Map of Life: Inside the Human Genome Project (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)

Drawing the Map of Life: Inside the Human Genome Project (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)

Victor K. McElheny

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0465028950

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Drawing the Map of Life takes the story of the Human Genome Project from its origins, through the race to its accomplishment, and on to today’s vast efforts to exploit the complete, ordered sequence of the 3 billion subunits of DNA, the molecule of heredity. It is the first account to deal in depth and balance with the intellectual roots of the project, the motivations that drove it, and the hype that often masked genuine triumphs. McElheny profiles key people, such as David Botstein, Eric Lander, Francis Collins, Watson, Michael Hunkapiller and Craig Venter. He also shows that, besides being a major event in the history of science, one that is revolutionizing medicine, the Human Genome Project is a striking example of how new techniques and instruments (such as restriction enzymes and sequencing methods), often arriving first, shape the type of questions scientists then ask.
















17, 2008; “National Institutes of Health awards more than $54 million to Kaiser Permanente to conduct health research,” Reuters, October 12, 2009; “Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Land $25M Grant for Genotyping Effort,” GenomeWeb.com, October 12, 2009. Website: For information about the study, see www.dor.kaiser.org/studies/rpgeh. Newspapers: Carl T. Hall, “Kaiser Starts Major Study of Members’ Health; HMO Will Survey Health and Habits over 50 Years,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2007, B3;

genome, 170, 185, 225 Domenici, Pete, 58, 93–94, 98 Donis-Keller, Helen, 50, 69, 107 Donnelly, Peter, 207, 214, 214–215 Doolittle, Russell, 68, 75 Double Helix, The (Watson), 76 Double Twist corporation, 160 Double-helix model, 4, 16, 181 Down syndrome, 21, 228 Drazen, Jeffrey, 225 Dreyer, William, 22 Drosophila (fruit fly), xi, 71, 72, 92, 123, 146, 155–156, 157, 170 Drugs antiretrovirals, 12 Avastin, 234 biotechnology, 203 “blockbuster,” 229, 253 blood-thinning, 63, 244–245

further dramatic declines. Undaunted, however, Celera agreed on March 20 to merge with Paracel, a company in Pasadena, California, that specialized in genome analysis. Venter was still intent on his goal of building Celera into an information company like Bloomberg.53 A Script for Life: “The Real Fun Starts Now” In June 2000, as the public announcement of success in drafting a human genome drew near, many attempted to describe what the world would be like when it had a preliminary blueprint of

sequencing methods. Very soon, the SNPs had company as badges of genetic variation. Little-suspected, large new classes of genetic differences, within and between species, had to be considered alongside those that previously preoccupied genomic researchers. The catchall names for the numerous mutations included “rearrangements,” “structural variations,” or “copy-number changes.” As early as 2003, it was evident that the evolution from primates to humans had brought changes not only within known

Death Row. Since 1989, the U.S.-based Innocence Project has calculated, DNA evidence has cleared more than 220 prisoners in thirty-three American states. The first use of such DNA forensics was in proving that a boy from Ghana really was the son of a woman in England who claimed she was his mother. Not only did DNA fingerprinting settle paternity cases, but, as in the destruction of the World Trade Towers, it identified people whose remains could be determined no other way.15 Because DNA

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