Biotech Updates

Sequencing the Last Part of the Human Genome

November 4, 2011

The human genome was first published in 2001. However, the published sequence was incomplete because one part remains unsequenced—the centromeres. The centromeres are the anchor points that control separation of chromosomes when cells divide. According to Karen Hayden of Duke University, centromeres are one of the mysterious parts of the human genome because these areas are made of highly repetitive DNA sequences. Thus, Hayden developed a new technique to study this part of the genome

The normal procedure used by scientists in sequencing the human genome would include breaking of the DNA into smaller parts prior to sequencing them. Since this cannot be applied in sequencing the centromere because most of its parts look the same, Hayden used a different method. She also developed a database that can be used to determine the differences in the sequences of the centromere. Hayden hopes that the results of her study would help find sequences that could be associated to diseases like cancer and birth defects.

Read the media release at