U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

"How Analytical Chemists Saved the Human Genome Project."
Published: January 16, 2002
Posted: January 23, 2002

The January 1, 2002 issue of Analytical Chemistry has an article on the role of research in analytical chemistry in enabling the rapid progress that has occurred in the human genome project. The article traces the development of capillary array electrophoresis, the key technology in the actual sequencing of DNA, from the fundamental research by James Jorgensen of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, that established the technique of capillary electrophoresis to the present day. The article discusses several research contributions that were funded in whole or part by the BER genome program. A key step was development of polymer matrices to fill the capillaries by Barry Karger at Northeastern University. Techniques for detection of the separated DNA fragments in capillary tubes were developed by Norm Dovichi (then at the University of Alberta), Rich Mathies (University of California, Berkeley) and Ed Yeung (Ames Laboratory) allowing high efficiency in readout of sequencing runs, and served as the basis for three commercial instruments for automated sequencing. According to Dovichi these developments in instrumentation played a key role in enabling the initial human genome sequence to be completed about four years before the original target of 2005.

Contact: Roland Hirsch, SC-73, 3-9009
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Legacy: Human Genome Project (1990-2003)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)