Draft genome sequences require careful finishing (closing the gaps and ironing out the inconsistencies) to become really useful resources. In an Advanced Online Publication in Nature, Roland Heilig and colleagues report the first finished human chromosome for the year 2003 (Nature, DOI:10.1038/nature01348, January 1 2003).

Chromosome 14 now joins the three other completed chromosomes, namely chromosomes 22, 21 and 20. Human chromosome 14 contains a number of loci of interest to immunologists, notably the T-cell receptor locus and the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus, as well as genes linked to genetic diseases such as Niemann-Pick disease, early onset Alzheimer's disease and Usher syndrome.

The finished sequence — in a single contig over 87 megabases long — covers the entire euchromatic region and the sequence quality is 99.99%. The general landscape of chromosome 14 resembles that of the whole genome; the G+C content is 40.9%, it is peppered...

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