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Human genomics in China
Date:1/7/2009

Ten years ago, the Chinese National Human Genome Center at Shanghai (South Center, hereafter) was established in the Zhangjiang HiTech Park of Pudong District in Shanghai. To commemorate this important event, which marks the beginning of the Genomics Era in China, we specially organize a series of mini-reviews for this special issue. We hope that this effort may draw the attention of the Chinese life science research workers to collectively recall the short but fruitful history of human genome project and coordinately explore the trend and goal of the future development of this academic discipline in China.

As early as in the late 1980s, the Chinese High Technology Research and Development Program, which is also known as the 863 Program, funded the scientists of Fudan University (in Shanghai) to construct DNA jumping library for human genetic disease related physical mapping. It was probably the very first human genome related research project supported by a national funding agency. After 1991, Fudan University, Ruijin Hospital and the Cancer Research Institute in Shanghai were all funded by the 863 Program in succession, to develop genomics technology by means of molecular genetics, and to study genetic diseases including cancer by means of medical genetics. Meanwhile, Beijing scientists such as those in the Institute of Basic Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences also independently developed the rare cutter restriction enzymes such as Not I and Sfi I to facilitate the analysis of large DNA fragments of human genome, aiming at physical map construction. These early efforts and progress became truly "the spark of a fire" and the human genome research was thus initiated.

In the early 1990s, focusing on the total sequencing and annotation of the complete human genome as its core mission, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was initiated under the leadership of the U.S.A. However, the initial response in Chi
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Contact: Li Jiyuan
life@scichina.org
86-106-401-5399
Science in China Press
Source:Eurekalert

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