After the official announcement of results significantly involved in
the international human genome project of German Science replied
Interview: Comparable with the
invention of the wheel
Replied to the scientists involved in the international human genome
project German side Prof. Hans Lehrach (Berlin) and Prof. André
Rosenthal (Jena) at the press conference in Berlin the questions of
journalists after the official announcement of results
Specify the human genome as a milestone in science.Is not an
Rosenthal:Many colleagues and scientists do. To compare the
sequencing of the basic building blocks of human genetic material,
with the invention of the wheel, landing on the Moon and other
fundamental benefits of science.
The international human genome project has progressed faster years
than originally assumed. Has one scheduled?
1996 began the first Sequenzierungsanalysen mainly to test the
methods in different countries. Ten percent of the human genome was
sequenced after three years. Actually we had originally believed that
15 years would need. Then there was huge jumps in Bioinformatics and
sequencing technology.The data continued to this explosively.As I
said, 1999 we had only ten percent of the data. We wanted to only
come out next year with the today's working version of the complete
human heritage material.The immense acceleration of the work of the
international academic human genome project has to do with the
competition of the private U.S. company Celera of Craig Venter.
When is the final version scheduled?
For the year 2003. But we will present the letter sequence "Book" the
human genetic material with 99.9 percent accuracy already this or no
later than next year.
Was it only ambition who enter the international community with
Celera in an already combative style race?
We want all data accessible.The international Sequenzierkonsortium
immediately published his results on the Internet.Thus, the knowledge
on the genetic makeup are all scientists at your disposal, but also
private companies such as Celera. We want to avoid the universal life
code is patented and only some then have the monopoly. That would
greatly hinder the development of science, but also the economy apart
from ethical problems.
Are they fundamentally opposed to the patenting of genes?
No. Under certain conditions their patenting is conceivable, such as,
if they are completely decrypted and their function is known. You can
be not only agree that incurred millions and millions of raw data,
such as genome sequencing, virtually wander of robots and computers
from the laboratory to the Patent Office and there before the rest of
science before further research "protection".
How big is the amount of data?
We have decrypted 3.9 Gigabasen, 20 percent are redundant.A Gigabase
means one billion letters of the genetic code.The genetic code has
four letters A, T, C and G, which correspond to the sequence of
related bases. 60 Percent of the data were sequenced in the last six
What does this Chase for Celera?
One must assume that it now comes to a close cooperation between the
international groups and Craig Venters of private company Celera.
Celera could always access the data of the international project. But
we quite appreciate the company's performance. It has huge
Sequenzierungskapazitäten, modern software and good logistics.
Everything under one roof which is scattered otherwise far in the
world located there.Craig Venter will realize however that its
business concept can no longer open.Fewer pharmaceutical companies
will want to pay subscription fees for data that are no longer
exclusive, because they have become accessible by us. It becomes a
merger are data of Celera and the international human genome project
and hopefully a fertile research cooperation instead of a fierce
Has Germany supported the German human genome project?
Yes, but too late.Only in 1996 the Federal Republic supported the
German project with 40 million mark research grants annually.Now
there are signs to raise funds to 65 million.This is still just a
drop in the bucket compared to public financing in the United States,
Japan and even in China.
The decryption of the character sequence in the text of the book of
life still does not mean to understand the language of this letter
and know what...
Correct.Not all sequences of letters make genes and so far only a
small fraction of an estimated 40 000 genes of the human genome is
known.This means that the actual, much larger task yet is
imminent.The next stage of the human genome project will deal under
the abundance of data find the genes and determine its function.About
the proteins they encode or when they are responsible for the
activation of which (other) gene.
Once again to the initial question: How can we talk now about a
By the work release, we face a wide open door.The research is driven
by strong.The "big" widespread diseases such as diabetes mellitus,
obesity, high blood pressure, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such
as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's cause in disturbances of the genetic
blueprint or the function of genes.In the next 10 to 15 years we the
several thousand genes do not find, to many this - so far at all or
at best the symptoms diseases involving kurierbaren - and find
accordingly effective therapies.Since can then treated diseases to
their genetic - say molecular needs, there will be a new medicine in
the future: molecular medicine that is already in the making.
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