Human Genome Project
U.S. Department of Energy

Spinoff Projects Related to the Human Genome Project

During the late stages of the Human Genome Project and in the years thereafter, several important private and public spin-off projects have been launched. These projects are capitalizing on the new biology and new technologies brought about by the HGP that have enabled their research to go forward. They include:

Genomic Science Program
GSP research conducts explorations of microbes and plants at the molecular, cellular, and community levels. The goal is to gain insights about fundamental biological processes and, ultimately, a predictive understanding of how living systems operate. The resulting knowledgebase—all linked through DNA sequence and freely available—will catalyze the translation of science into new technologies for energy and environmental applications.

ENCODE: ENCyclopedia of DNA Elements
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) launched a public research consortium named ENCODE, the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements, in September 2003, to carry out a project to identify all functional elements in the human genome sequence. In 2012 numerous papers were published as part of this project. See them via Nature’s ENCODE Explorer.

1000 Genomes Project
The 1000 Genomes Project is sequencing the genomes of at least a thousand people from around the world. The project is funded by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England; the Beijing Genomics Institute Shenzhen in China; and the US NIH National Human Genome Research Institute. The project’s goal is tol develop a new map of the human genome that will provide a view of biomedically relevant DNA variations at a resolution unmatched by current resources. As with other major human genome reference projects, data from the 1000 Genomes Project will be made swiftly available to the worldwide scientific community through freely accessible public databases. This project published its pilot paper in Nature, October 2010.

Roadmap Epigenomics Project
The NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Mapping Consortium was launched with the goal of producing a public resource of human epigenomic data to catalyze basic biology and disease-oriented research. The Consortium leverages experimental pipelines built around next-generation sequencing technologies to map DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin accessibility and small RNA transcripts in stem cells and primary ex vivo tissues selected to represent the normal counterparts of tissues and organ systems frequently involved in human disease.

Human Microbiome Project
Within the body of a healthy adult, microbial cells are estimated to outnumber human cells by a factor of ten to one. These communities, however, remain largely unstudied, leaving almost entirely unknown their influence upon human development, physiology, immunity, and nutrition. To take advantage of recent technological advances and to develop new ones, the NIH Roadmap has initiated the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) with the mission of generating resources enabling comprehensive characterization of the human microbiota and analysis of its role in human health and disease.

Genographic Project
The Genographic Project is a five-year research partnership led by National Geographic and IBM. Researchers are using cutting-edge genetic and computational technologies to analyze historical patterns in DNA from participants around the world to better understand our human genetic roots.

International HapMap Project
The goal of the International HapMap Project is to develop a haplotype map of the human genome, the HapMap, which will describe the common patterns of human DNA sequence variation. The HapMap is expected to be a key resource for researchers to use to find genes affecting health, disease, and responses to drugs and environmental factors. The information produced by the Project will be made freely available.

Microbial Genome Project
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) led the Microbial Genome Project from 1994-2005. The projects supported innovative, high-impact, peer-reviewed biological science to seek solutions to difficult DOE mission challenges. These challenges included finding alternative sources of energy, understanding biological carbon cycling as it relates to global climate change, and cleaning up environmental wastes. Microbial genome sequencing continues at DOE through the DOE Joint Genome Institute Community Science Program.

Environmental Genome Project
Many diseases are the outcome of a complex inter-relationship between multiple genetic and environmental factors. Research suggests that individual susceptibility is influenced more by certain genes than by exposure to environmental agents. To better understand how individuals differ in their susceptibility to environmental agents and how these susceptibilities change over time, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) developed the Environmental Genome Project (EGP) in 1997. The long-term goal of the EGP is to characterize how specific human genetic variations, or polymorphisms, contribute to environmentally induced disease susceptibility.

Cancer Genome Anatomy Project
The goal of the NCI’s Cancer Genome Anatomy Project is to determine the gene expression profiles of normal, precancer, and cancer cells, leading eventually to improved detection, diagnosis, and treatment for the patient. By collaborating with scientists worldwide, CGAP seeks to increase its scientific expertise and expand its databases for the benefit of all cancer researchers.