The genome project-write we need technology and an ethical framework for genome-scale engineering

Jef D. Boeke, George Church, Andrew Hessel, Nancy J. Kelley, Adam Arkin, Yizhi Cai, Rob Carlson, Aravinda Chakravarti, Virginia W. Cornish, Liam Holt, Farren J. Isaacs, Todd Kuiken, Marc Lajoie, Tracy Lessor, Jeantine Lunshof, Matthew T. Maurano, Leslie A. Mitchell, Jasper Rine, Susan Rosser, Neville E. SanjanaPamela A. Silver, David Valle, Harris Wang, Jeffrey C. Way, Luhan Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Human Genome Project (“HGP-read”), nominally completed in 2004, aimed to sequence the human genome and to improve the technology, cost, and quality of DNA sequencing (1, 2). It was biology's first genome-scale project and at the time was considered controversial by some. Now, it is recognized as one of the great feats of exploration, one that has revolutionized science and medicine.

Although sequencing, analyzing, and editing DNA continue to advance at a breakneck pace, the capability for constructing DNA sequences in cells is mostly limited to a small number of short segments, which restricts the ability to manipulate and understand biological systems. Further understanding of genetic blueprints could come from construction of large, gigabase (Gb)-sized animal and plant genomes, including the human genome, which would, in turn, drive development of tools and methods to facilitate large-scale synthesis and editing of genomes. To this end, we propose the Human Genome Project-Write (HGP-write), named to honor HGP-read but embracing synthesis of all large genomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-127
Number of pages2
Issue number6295
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016


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