To translate the billions of sequenced bases of the human genome into meaningful information, investigators in the private and public sectors continue to use computer prediction to automatically annotate the human genome--to attach biological footnotes about genes, the proteins they encode, and the ailments to which they may be linked. But as with any translation, there's potential for multiple interpretations. Annotation projects could present geneticists with significantly different genome schematics.

"I think that for the moment scientists are going to have to revel in the variety," maintains Robert Waterston, director of the genome sequencing center at Washington University in St. Louis. A joint effort in the United Kingdom from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and the Sanger Centre, U.S. efforts at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and commercial efforts will present different annotations based on the data available, algorithms employed, and...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?