NIH News Release
National Library of Medicine

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Contact: Robert Mehnert,
Kathleen Cravedi
(301) 496-6308

Public Access to the Human Genome

(BETHESDA, MD.)— The DNA sequence of the Human Genome is now freely accessible to all, for public or private use, from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The Center is a part of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

The web address for the Human Genome home page is:

The completion of a "working draft" of the human genome — an important milestone in the Human Genome Project — was announced last June at a press conference at the White House and will be published in the February 15, 2001 issue of Nature.

An ongoing research challenge is to piece together and analyze the multitudes of data produced by the Project. NCBI has completed its first assembly of the DNA sequence into an organized and easily accessible resource — including labels that point to important regions of the sequence such as those containing genes — and is now making it public.

If you think of the genome as a book, it wasn't "read" from cover to cover. Instead, it was photocopied and split into paragraphs — with no spacing or punctuation — before being sequenced by various participants in the Human Genome Project. NCBI scientists are working to put the paragraphs back into their correct order, annotate them with section headings that guide the reader, and create an index to help locate any particular section of interest.

NCBI's Web site serves as an integrated, one-stop, genomic resource for biomedical researchers around the world. Using search and analysis tools developed at NCBI, scientists can, for example:

The Human Genome data can be downloaded in its entirety, chromosome by chromosome, in segments referred to as "contigs" (for "contiguous sequence"). This data, along with information about the location of genes and other biological features associated with the sequence, is available from NCBI's public FTP site.

For more information and sample searches illustrating how NCBI tools can be used for scientific discovery, see the Introduction to NCBI's Genome Resource or Take a Tour of the Draft Human Genome, both available http at the address above.