Robert J. Bradbury (
Mon, 13 Sep 1999 15:38:44 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 14 Sep 1999, Cameron Reilly wrote:

> >

Boy, all of my predictions from Extro conferences are coming true! I should start picking horses... :-)

> > A US genetic company, Celera, has decoded the genetic blueprint of the
> > common fruit fly. Using its superfast but controversial "shotgun"
> > method of gene sequencing, it has identified the entire genetic code,
> > 1.8 billion base pairs, of Drosophila melanogaster.

You should be careful with press releases. "Decoded", in this situation means *READ*, as in the same way I would read Arabic (I can copy the symbols, but I don't "understand" a word of it). If Drosophila remains "true" to form with the other 60+ genomes that have been decoded that will mean that 30-40% of the genes will be "unrecognizable" and we will have no idea what they do. They you have *a lot* of work ahead to decode all of their functions.

They've only just begun to finish all of the painstaking computer work that assembles all of the sequence information and finds all of the "putative" genes in the genome. Where they are now is at the point that if you gave a Monkey all of the pages of a book in some random order and told it to put them together in the correct order and draw lines at the beginning and end of each sentence. The really hard part begins when you ask the Monkey to explain what each sentence *means*. Celera probably will do little of this interpretation work since they did the sequencing under contract to the Drosophila Genome researchers.

The human genome is 23% sequenced in rough form at this point.

If you want to follow this stuff, the best URL is:

As Max always says, Onward!