by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted September 4, 2007 in Personalities with DNA
To much acclaim, J. Craig Venter’s genome was published today in PLoS Biology: The Diploid Genome Sequence of an Individual Human. Huntington F. Willard, a geneticist at Duke University, is calling Craig Venter’s newly published genome sequence the new “gold standard.”
Here are some other comments from around the genetics community on Dr. Venter’s diploid genome – the full complement of the chromosomes he inherited from both his mother and father.
Edward M. Rubin, a genome expert at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:
I donâ€™t want to fan the fires but I like this, itâ€™s a really good genome.
George Church, Harvard professor and head of the Personal Genome Project:
I would call this a small, quantitative milestone.
Stephen W. Scherer, University of Toronto and co-author of the Venter genome paper:
This is the first time that anyone has had an accurate representation of how much variation there is in a human genome.
With this type of knowledge now in hand, the stage is set for an era of personalized medicine, where genome sequence information becomes a critical reference to assist with health-related decisions.
It’s different from everything we’ve learned … the chromosomes don’t line up at all. You can have no gene on one chromosome and have two copies of the gene on the other … there’s really a more dynamic interplay than we thought.
This is the ultimate form of genealogy. You’ll have incredible information about yourself. I wouldn’t be surprised if Internet-based browsers pop up before long that allow you to compare your genome to others. [Editor's note: Yes, Doctor. That would probably be 23andMe....]
Kathy Siminovitch, director of genomic medicine at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Insitute:
It seems like it is possible to think that a $1,000 genome could be within reach. When we see how much variation there is in [Dr. Venter's] DNA, then chances are there is this much variation in all DNA. … This publication [of the Venter genome] will drive the momentum to get the price down and to be able to do this on lots of people.
Dr. Venter, the man himself:
It is clear that we are still at the earliest stages of discovery about ourselves and only with continued sequencing of more individual genomes will we be able to garner a full understanding of how our genes influence our lives.
Once we have those [complete genomes], we will basically be able to sort out every fundamental question about nature versus nurture, what’s genetic and what’s environment. [Editor's note: Of course, nurture and the environment feed off of nature and genes. It's an endless feedback loop.]
What we are all going to find out is that, with some very rare exceptions, every human trait is a statistical probability resulting from a number of genes working together.
With this publication we have shown that human-to-human variation is five- to seven-fold greater than earlier estimates, proving that we are in fact more unique at the individual genetic level than we thought.
I’ve not asked any of their [his mother, three siblings, and 30-year-old son] permission, but we’ve discussed it all extensively. Their main response is not “Oh, my God.” It’s “Can I get my genome done, too?”
We don’t need to fear our genetic codes. They are not life or death sentences.
We have all been taught that we should fear this information. We hope to teach people they should welcome it as a breath of fresh air that gives them opportunities in their lives.
Knowing something doesn’t change what’s in our genetic code. But knowing things maybe gives us a chance to change what could be part of our genetic destiny.
More on Dr. J. Craig Venter’s Fabulous Genome...
What comes after genome sequencing?...
Craig Venter on the Sinfest Forum...
Craig Venter’s DNA Star Tarnished...
Personal Genome Sequencing Company Knome Launches...
Nanosphere DNA Test Using Gold Nanoparticles...
DNA Video: Craig Venter on the Charlie Rose Show...
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