Lander takes Alan through Genetics 101.
Watson and Francis Crick's discovery of the double helix structure
of DNA immediately revealed how the molecule stores and replicates
genetic information. But decoding and reading that information
would take another fifty years. At the Whitehead Center for
Genome Research -the largest of the 16 laboratories around
the world collaborating on the Human Genome Project Director
Eric Lander shows Alan
how it's done.
machines prepare 100,000 "sentences" of the Human Genome
help Alan better understand the process, Lander compares the
entire genome to a book made up of three billion letters arranged
in sentences. The point of the project is to discover the
precise order these letters - known as A, T, C and G - appear
in. At the Whitehead Center, robots help researchers with
the enormous task of chopping up, sorting and decoding a hundred
thousand sentences a day. Thanks to hard work and faster and
faster computers, Lander and his colleagues were able to publish
the first draft of the human genome in 2001. The Whitehead
Center continues to pour out 50 to 60 million letters of DNA
code every day, gradually filling in the details in the book
more on this topic, see the web feature:
Why the Y?