The ENCODE Project: Deciphering the Human Genome’s Rosetta Stone

Aftab J. Ahmed



The successful completion of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project in 2007 continues the pursuit of a systematic approach to catalogue and annotate genetic perturbation and its relation with disease susceptibility. The ENCODE Project is a logical step in augmenting the genomic sequence data produced by the Human Genome Project (HGP) with functional information. The various initiatives to isolate the causative gene associations with common diseases have met with understandable enthusiasm. These are, however, initial steps in better understanding human biology. To fully realize the potential of these powerful approaches, an appraisal of their ramifications will increasingly be in order. This article presents both the promise and challenges of genetic medicine in a broad perspective.


Human genome; functional genomics; drug development; personalized medicine; single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs); genetics; healthcare policy

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