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Completed in April 2003, the Human Genome project (HGP) gave us the ability, for the first time, to read nature's complete genetic blueprint for building a human being. This timeline lists the key moments and press releases from the history of the HGP.

1988

February 29-March 1: National Institutes of Health Director James Wyngaarden assembles scientists, administrators and science policy experts in Reston, Va., to lay out a plan for the Human Genome Project.

October 1: The Office for Human Genome Research is created within the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health. Also, NIH and the Department of Energy sign a memorandum of understanding to "coordinate research and technical activities related to the human genome."

1989

October 1: The National Center for Human Genome Research is established to carry out the National Institutes of Health's component of the United States Human Genome Project. The center's first director is James D. Watson, co-discoverer with Francis Crick of the double-helical structure of DNA.

1990

April: A five-year plan with specific goals for the project is published.

October 1: The Human Genome Project officially begins.

1992

April 10: James Watson resigns as first director of the National Center for Human Genome Research. Michael Gottesman is appointed acting NCHGR director.

1993

April 4Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. is appointed director of the National Center for Human Genome Research.

October 1: The United States Human Genome Project revises its five-year goals through September 1998.

1994

SeptemberFirst Human Genome Project Mapping Goal Is Met
An international team of researchers has published a detailed linkage map of the human genome, meeting one of the project's scientific goals a full year ahead of schedule.

1996

AprilPilot Study Explores Feasibility of Sequencing Human DNA

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a key player in the international Human Genome Project (HGP) and part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today the launch of an unprecedented pilot study to explore the feasibility of large-scale sequencing of human DNA.

June 25Faster, Cheaper Methods to Read DNA Focus on Systems Integration, Miniaturization
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) recently launched its first, full-throttle attempt to decipher human DNA - a process called DNA sequencing - by awarding funds to scientists at six U.S. institutions.

1998

MayStatement by the National Institutes of Health on the Perkin-Elmer-TIGR DNA Sequencing Proposal

The Human Genome Project (HGP) is a 15-year effort begun in 1990 to characterize the full set of genetic instructions (called the genome) of the human and other model organisms.

JulyHuman Genome Sequencing Projects Receive Third Year of Funding
Seven research projects to spell out the human genetic instruction book have been extended for a third year to further refine strategies for completing the DNA sequence of the human.

SeptemberGenome Project Leaders Announce Intent to Finish Sequencing the Human Genome Two Years Early
At a meeting today of the federal Human Genome Project's main advisory body, project planners will present a new plan to finish the DNA sequence of the human genome by the end of year 2003, two years ahead of its original schedule.

1999

MarchHuman Genome Project Announces Successful Completion of Pilot Project

The international Human Genome Project (HGP) today announced the successful completion of the pilot phase of sequencing the human genome and the launch of the full-scale effort to sequence all 3 billion letters (referred to as bases) that make up the human DNA instruction book.

MayInternational Human Genome Sequencing Consortium Backs Rapid Construction of a Working Draft and Stands Firm on Public Access
Following a meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory this week, leaders of the international human genome sequencing consortium reaffirmed their commitment to providing free, immediate and unrestricted access to human sequencing data.

SeptemberHuman Genome Will Be Defined by Spring
Scientists have confirmed that they are on schedule to produce the first draft of the genetic blueprint of humankind by Spring 2000.

SeptemberThe Sequence of the Human Genome: Coming A Lot Sooner Than You Thought
Until less than a year ago, the Human Genome Project (HGP) projected that completion of the 3 Gb human DNA sequence would not happen until 2005. Several recent developments have led to a dramatic acceleration of that timetable.

DecemberScientists Complete First Chapter of Book of Life With Decoding of First Human Chromosome
An international team of researchers has achieved a scientific milestone by unraveling for the first time the genetic code of an entire human chromosome.

2000

January 27President's State of the Union Address Refers to Human Genome Project

Excerpts From President Clinton's Address.

MarchThe Human Genome Project: Benefiting All Humanity
At today's Medals of Science and Technology awards ceremony, the President will announce that he and Prime Minister Tony Blair have agreed on a statement of principle to ensure that discoveries from the human genome are used to advance human health.

MarchTwo Thirds of Human DNA Script Deciphered by Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project international consortium announced today that two billion of the three billion "letters" that constitute the genetic instruction book of humans have been deciphered and deposited into GenBank.

JuneInternational Human Genome Sequencing Consortium Announces "Working Draft" of Human Genome
The Human Genome Project (HGP) public consortium today announced that it has assembled a working draft of the sequence of the human genome - the genetic blueprint for a human being.

SeptemberHuman Genome Central: An Ongoing Picture of the Genome that is Both Comprehensive and Comprehensible
The vast majority of the human genome is now publicly available. About 25 percent of the genome is in finished form, while the great majority of the remainder is in draft form.

OctoberHuman Genome Project Honored by American Society of Human Genetics' Allan Award
At its annual convention this year, the American Society of Human Genetics' Allan Award honored the hundreds of scientists who have been involved in the deciphering of the human genetic code.

NovemberNIH Consumer Day 2000 To Explain Impact of Human Genome Project on Public Health
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will sponsor "Consumer Day 2000" on Thursday, November 9, to inform patients, families and health care providers about how the Human Genome Project (HGP) will impact health and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases from Alzheimer's to strokes.

2001

FebruaryBringing the Human Genome Project into the Classroom

The Human Genome Project (HGP) has created a free multimedia kit to serve as an educational tool for high school students and the general public.

February 12International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium Publishes Sequence and Analysis of the Human Genome
The Human Genome Project international consortium today announced the publication of a draft sequence and initial analysis of the human genome.

OctoberConference Examines Impact Of Human Genome Project On Minority Communities
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) will co-sponsor "The Human Genome Project Conference: The Challenges and Impact of Human Genome Research for Minority Communities."

2002

OctoberNew Guide Helps Researchers Mine Genome Data
The Internet is teeming with user's guides for everything from cell phones to the space station. Now, to encourage greater scientific exploration of public databases containing the human genome sequence.

2003

February 10Where to Be in April 2003!
April 2003 will witness the completion of the human genome sequence.

April 14International Consortium Completes Human Genome Project
The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, led in the United States by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Department of Energy (DOE), today announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project more than two years ahead of schedule.

May 20Progress Made in Sequencing Of Model Organisms' Genomes
As efforts to build working drafts of the honeybee and chimpanzee genomes near completion, scientists are moving forward to sequence the genomes of other important model organisms.

October 9Beyond Genes: Scientists Venture Deeper Into the Human Genome
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) today announced the first grants in a three-year, $36 million scientific reconnaissance mission aimed at discovering all parts of the human genome that are crucial to biological function.

November 7NHGRI Funds Next Generation Of Large-Scale Sequencing Centers
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) today announced the selection of five centers to carry out a new generation of large-scale sequencing projects.

2004

March 24: International Sequencing Consortium Launches Online Resource

The National Human Genome Research Institute announces that the International Sequencing Consortium (ISC) has launched a free, online resource where scientists and the public can get the latest information on the status of sequencing projects for animal, plant and other eukaryotic genomes.

March 31: Scientists Compare Rat Genome With Human, Mouse
An international research team, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced it has completed a high-quality, draft sequence of the genome of the laboratory rat, and has used that data to explore how the rat's genetic blueprint stacks up against those of mice and humans.

April 21: NHGRI Scientists Return to the Classroom For Second Annual National DNA Day
On April 30, dozens of researchers and staff from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) will head back to high schools in rural and urban communities across the country to share with students some of the exciting research taking place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

October 14: NHGRI Seeks Next Generation of Sequencing Technologies
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced it has awarded more than $38 million in grants to spur the development of innovative technologies designed to dramatically reduce the cost of DNA sequencing, a move aimed at broadening the applications of genomic information in medical research and health care.

October 20: International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium Describes Finished Human Genome Sequence
The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, led in the United States by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Department of Energy (DOE), today published its scientific description of the finished human genome sequence, reducing the estimated number of human protein-coding genes from 35,000 to only 20,000-25,000, a surprisingly low number for our species.

Last updated: November 12, 2018