Genome Projects

In 1997 a group of Brazilian scientists had an ambitious idea: to sequence the entire genome of a free-living organism. At that time, only a handful of such genomes had been completely sequenced. This idea was their response to a request from the State of Sao Paulo Research Funding Agency (FAPESP) of something "big" to boost biotechnology research in the state.

They soon realized that they would need a thing called bioinformatics, which is using computers to support the processing and analysis of DNA and protein sequences that a genome project generates. Joao Carlos Setubal and myself, being the closest available bioinformaticians in sight, were immediately contacted. We happily agreed to participate in this first Brazilian genome project, something that changed our life forever. For most participants, the genome was a hallmark. There is your career pre-genome (P.G.) and then there is your career in the genomic era (G.E.)

The work was so intense that we did not have time to publish much about what we did, about all the code we wrote to support this truly distributed project, in which the Internet played a key role. But I list here some related publications: the Nature paper with the first genome, and papers concerning the other, subsequent genome projects. Sequencing genomes has turned into a Brazilian mania, with more than 10 projects finished or underway by early 2002.



Joao Meidanis
Last modified: Tue Oct 15 11:44:10 -03 2019 by JM