In a study published in the April 7 issue of the journal Nature, a multi-institution team, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, described its analysis of the high quality, reference sequence of chromosomes 2 and 4. The sequencing work on the chromosomes was carried out as part of the Human Genome Project at Washington University; Broad Institute of MIT, Cambridge, Mass.; Stanford DNA Sequencing and Technology Development Center, Stanford, Calif.; Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, England; National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan; Genoscope, Evry, France; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; University of Washington Multimegabase Sequencing Center, Seattle; U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, Calif.; and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, N.Y.
"This analysis is an impressive achievement that will deepen our understanding of the human genome and speed the discovery of genes related to human health and disease. In addition, these findings provide exciting new insights into the structure and evolution of mammalian genomes," said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of NHGRI, which led the U.S. component of the Human Genome Project along with the DOE.
Chromosome 4 has long been of interest to the medical community because it holds the gene for Huntington's disease, polycystic kidney disease, a form of muscular dystrophy and a variety of other inherited disorders. Chromosome 2 is noteworthy for being the second largest human chromosome, trailing only chromosome 1 in size. It is also home to the gene with the longest