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The Human Genome at Ten

The draft human genome sequence was published on February 15 2001. Its publication promised great insights into human biology, medicine and evolution; it also changed the way life science research was done. In this special, Nature reflects on the past ten years to take stock of what we have learnt about the genome itself and about us - our biology, evolution and the genetic basis of human disease. From today's standpoint we also look into the future of human genomics, with a special focus on its role in clinical medicine.


  • Best is yet to come

    Ten years after the human genome was sequenced, its promise is still to be fulfilled.

    Nature 470 , 140 ( )

  • The human genome at ten

    Nearly a decade on from the completion of the draft sequence of the human genome, researchers should work with the same intensity and focus to apply the results to health.

    Nature 464 , 649-650 ( )




  • Too many roads not taken

    Most research focuses on the proteins known before the human genome was mapped. Work on the slew discovered since, urge Aled M. Edwards and his colleagues.

  • Has the revolution arrived?

    Looking back over the past decade of human genomics, Francis Collins finds five key lessons for the future of personalized medicine — for technology, policy, partnerships and pharmacogenomics.

  • Multiple personal genomes await

    Genomic data will soon become a commodity; the next challenge — linking human genetic variation with physiology and disease — will be as great as the one genomicists faced a decade ago, says J. Craig Venter.

  • Point: Hypotheses first

    There is little to show for all the time and money invested in genomic studies of cancer, says Robert Weinberg – and the approach is undermining tried-and-tested ways of doing, and of building, science.

  • Counterpoint: Data first

    Large, unbiased genomic surveys are taking cancer therapeutics in directions that could never have been predicted by traditional molecular biology, says Todd Golub.

  • Bursting the genomics bubble Free access

    The Human Genome Project attracted investment beyond what a rational analysis would have predicted. There are pros and cons to that, says Philip Ball.

Books & Arts

  • Sequence secured?

    Peter Border finds that two primers skirt some key issues about how to handle the genomic data deluge.

    Nature 470 , 169-170 ( )

  • A reality check for personalized medicine

    Bringing genetic information into health care is welcome but its utility in the clinic needs to be rigorously reviewed, caution Muin J. Khoury, James Evans and Wylie Burke.

    Nature 464 , 649-650 ( )

Technology Feature


  • Science after the sequence

    The completion of the draft human genome sequence was announced ten years ago. Nature's survey of life scientists reveals that biology will never be the same again. Declan Butler reports.

  • Life is complicated

    The more biologists look, the more complexity there seems to be. Erika Check Hayden asks if there's a way to make life simpler.

  • The human race

    What was it like to participate in the fastest, fiercest research race in biology? Alison Abbott talks to some of the genome competitors about the rivalries and obstacles they faced then — and now.

  • The sequence explosion

    Ten years ago there were 8 billion base pairs of 'finished' sequence in the main databases. That number has now grown to more than 270 billion bases, yet it is dwarfed by the amount of raw sequence being created and stored.

Audio & Video

  • Human genome special iPad app

    To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the draft human genome sequence, Nature has repackaged the Human Genome at Ten news special into a free iPad App.

  • Nature Podcast: Genes at work

    Once you've got the human genome, what can you do next? Listen in to the Nature Podcast as researcher Jan Ellenberg discusses his time-lapse video survey of over 20,000 genes.


  • Bioinformatics: Curation generation

    Biologist and self-confessed bookworm Klemens Pichler thinks that he has found his ideal vocation. Pichler is a biocurator at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Hinxton, UK, working on the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) database.

Elsewhere in Nature

  • Human Genome Collection

    The complete and comprehensive DNA sequence of the human genome as a freely available resource.

  • Human genomics: The genome finishers

    Dedicated scientists are working hard to close the gaps, fix the errors and finally complete the human genome sequence. Elie Dolgin looks at how close they are.

  • One gene, twenty years

    When the cystic fibrosis gene was found in 1989, therapy seemed around the corner. Two decades on, biologists still have a long way to go, finds Helen Pearson.

  • Personal genomes: The case of the missing heritability

    When scientists opened up the human genome, they expected to find the genetic components of common traits and diseases. But they were nowhere to be seen. Brendan Maher shines a light on six places where the missing loot could be stashed away.