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When the Human Genome Project was officially launched back in 1990, it was envisioned as an international effort that would span 15 years with a price tag of $3 billion -- $1 for each base of the genetic code. After a journal with many twists, turns and tribulations, this extraordinary quest was marked by a White House celebration in June 2000, and the publication of the first drafts of the human genome in February 2001. The Nobel laureate David Baltimore wrote in Nature that he got “chills” reading the manuscript detailing the reference genome for humankind.

It is 15 years since those first drafts of the human genome were published. From a solitary reference genome, there are now hundreds of thousands of decoded genomes, thanks to astonishing advances in next-generation sequencing. Our understanding of the biology of the human genome has grown, bolstered by projects that have built upon the foundation of the Human Genome Project, including the International HapMap project, The Cancer Genome Atlas, the ENCODE Project, and many more.

There is no shortage of books, review articles, documentaries, and conferences addressing the Human genome Project and its legacy. Is there room for another scholarly effort to add to this abundance of information? We think so.

The Annotated Scholarly Guide to the Human Genome Project is a vast, online window into the Human Genome Project. It features a rich, meticulous gathering of resources, information and links to original research, articles, videos and many other materials. The scope spans not only the years bracketing the Project itself, but also the period leading to the launch and events following the Project’s completion.

The Annotated Scholarly Guide is the brainchild of Mila Pollock, librarian at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I am proud to have worked alongside Mila and her team, including contributor Michael Eisenstein, and hope this resource helps scholars and researchers learn more about the conception, history and legacy of the Human Genome Project.


Kevin Davies, PhD