In April 2003, researchers announced that the Human Genome Project had completed a high-quality sequence of essentially the entire human genome. This sequence closed the gaps from a working draft of the genome, which was published in 2001. It also identified the locations of many human genes and provided information about their structure and organization. The Project made the sequence of the human genome and tools to analyze the data freely available via the Internet.

In addition to the human genome, the Human Genome Project sequenced the genomes of several other organisms, including brewers’ yeast, the roundworm, and the fruit fly. In 2002, researchers announced that they had also completed a working draft of the mouse genome. By studying the similarities and differences between human genes and those of other organisms, researchers can discover the functions of particular genes and identify which genes are critical for life.

The Project’s Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) program became the world’s largest bioethics program and a model for other ELSI programs worldwide. For additional information about ELSI and the program’s accomplishments, please refer to What were some of the ethical, legal, and social implications addressed by the Human Genome Project?

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  • NLM National Library of Medicine