This is Science Today. Researchers are working around
the clock to meet the U.S. Department of Energy's
2003 deadline to map the entire human genome. Treavor
Hawkins, is the sequencing director of the Joint
Genome Institute, a DOE and University of California-managed
facility that's a key contributor to this global
effort. Using state-of-the-art equipment, Hawkins
says they're focusing on three human chromosomes
in particular, each containing up to fifteen thousand
genes - many of which are related to countless diseases,
including many cancers.
It's an extremely exciting project - it is a project
that will define biology for the next century. Without
it, not only would we not know the hundred thousand
genes in the human genome, but the majority of therapies,
the majority of drugs now, are coming from understanding
how genes and proteins work.
But Hawkins says even when they do crack this massive
genetic riddle, it'll still take many years to come
up with new drug therapies.
The good news is this is pushing forward the date
when that drug will be available - I mean, countless
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.