Sunday, November 27

Mapping of human DNA is complete. Here’s what that means for humanity.

Scientists are finally done with mapping the human genome, more than two decades after the first draft was completed, researchers announced Thursday. About 8% of genetic material had been impossible to decipher with previous technology.

Completing the final 8% is like adding the continent of Africa to a map of the globe that lacked it, said Michael Schatz, who participated in the research and is a professor of computer science and biology at Johns Hopkins University.

Missing that 8% still allowed scientists to get the gist of the story of human genetics, said Jonas Korlach, chief scientific officer of Pacific Biosciences, the company whose technology was used to fill the gaps.

But if that book were a detective story, “precisely the pages where you would find out who the murderer is missing,” he said.

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