Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

The Next Big Frontier?

At the Huffington Post's Science blog, Singularity University's Andrew Hessel says it's high time for a second Human Genome Project. "Today, in 2012, reading a human genome is no big deal," Hessel says. The next big frontier? "Genetic engineering," he adds.

Hessel proposes a challenge to the international research community:

I want to be absolutely clear that I'm talking only about the task of writing a complete 3 billion basepair human genome, correctly organized into 23 chromosomes, and packaged into a nucleus. A technical challenge, validated by showing the synthetic genome is functional if microinjected into a cultured cell. What I'm definitely not suggesting is growing a baby from a synthetic genome. Before we can fly, we need to be able to walk.

Hessel goes on to detail the reasons why writing a human genome is the next logical step in genomics, and suggests that "a coordinated effort to write a human genome would likely be completed in less than a decade, cost significantly less than the first HGP, and result in countless new biotech applications."

"It seems a no-brainer," he adds.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.